Thursday, August 31, 2006
response one: excuse me, JUST for grannies...what is this JUST? was it ever? I learnt to knit at age 7 or so and knitted obsessively all through my teen and early married years. Wool was cheap, and knitting was [usually] a very satisfying thing to do. Most of my friends knitted too, so I certainly wasn't an oddity.
response two: and this one has to do with the subtext implicit in the first statement , that older people who knit are somehow 'daggy' and that the image of knitting or more specifically knitters, needs to be rescued from some stygian abyss of dressed doll toilet roll holders and koala tea cosies. I did not suddenly lose my sense of taste just because I got to the other side of 50.
I LOVE it that huge numbers of twentysomethings and thirtysomethings have 'discovered' knitting. I love it that people are rediscovering the joys of long term projects in fine wools... that there are gals and guys out there knitting in pubs and cafes... all good.
knitting doesn't need to be the new yoga or the new anything else. It doesn't need to be just a fad to be taken up for a brief time and then passed over when the next new thing comes along.
oh and btw all of the above can also be applied to my other love : quilting.
Wednesday, August 30, 2006
This is the pair of bamboos that Maz hand painted for me. Apologies for the indifferent photo : they actually have daisies on the top. Aren't I spoiled? Yeah, I thought so too. I've been telling her that she ought to make them to sell but at the moment her hand is playing up, so no dice.
I've never used bamboos before and I'm wondering if there's a way of making them less grabby. Later today I think I might try polishing them up with something lanolin based
... that way if it gets on my wool no harm, no foul.
My preference for most knitting is casein needles... either the old tortoiseshells or the new Ivore ones.It's the same company making the Ivore, Pearl and Timbergrain that used to make the tortoiseshells. I didn't realise till recently that they were an antipodean thing. Just figured everyone had them... and for everyone else... best needles IN THE WORLD bar none.
Ok should've already left, so I'm off. Gotta drop David off to Windarring and then it's a skinny capp with Jeanette and maybe Lorraine if she makes it, and on to our weekly bellydance class. After the horseriding on Monday, it'll be interesting to see how the FMS goes this morning. So far so good. Meds on board. Thank God for pharmaceuticals :]
edited later to add this photo of my teacher, Susan Taylor. She felt she was a bit underdressed :] which actually means the opposite... more covered up than usual and far less in the jingly-jangly dangly jewellery line.
I obviously wasn't toooooooo stiff and sore from the horseriding episode:
I did the splits just to prove I still could! ...and... no, there isn't a photo of THAT nor will there ever be.
Tuesday, August 29, 2006
Had my studio class at Honeysuckle [ otherwise known as Group Therapy ] late morning which meant leaving home about an hour before Nadie went back to Melbourne, so I didn't get to see her take her first drive as a fully licensed driver, which makes it 3 years since she got her license. She says it felt 'wrong' to be finally driving without the plates on, but I'm sure she'll get used to it soon. I should've thought to get a photo of her ceremonially cremating the plates this morning... bugger.
Anyway, after class, I spotted this sweet brushed quilter's flannel that looks a bit like Rocky... so I've bought a couple of metres for ... a baby quilt ? or maybe sheets? or a nappy bag? for the Peanut.
After I got back to town and picked up david, we went for a hike up the hill and around the back of the block looking at which orchids were out, but I could only find 2 of the 4 that I was looking for. It's easy to miss something the size of your thumbnail in 10 acres of bush particularly when some of them are only out for a couple of weeks.
You know, looking at this last photo of the sun orchid [ at least that's what I think it is ] there is definitely a quilt in there. I love the textures of the leaf litter and the curves of the grass blades. Might have to climb up there again and take some more 'reference material' for Ron [ laterRon ... sorry bad aussie joke ]
Speaking of quilts, I have to admit that blogging ... mine and other peoples... and knitting have become a strategy to avoid getting started on an idea I have for a quilt. One of the quilt groups I belong to are having a Challenge as part of our show in mid-October and I haven't started it yet. Bad Catsmum :[
I know what I want to do but it's so much easier to sit in front of the idiot box with my knitting and keep David and the cats company. That's it. Resolution time. Tomorrow I start the bloody thing. What? You didn't think I was going to do it tonight, did you?
Monday, August 28, 2006
Nadie and I went trail riding for a couple of hours today. First time either of us have ever been on a horse that wasn't on a leading rein. I didn't take the camera because I figured [ rightly as it turned out] that my hands would be occupied with learning to control the horse. I made sure that the owner knew we were newbies so we were given the most tractable horses on the place. So all kitted out with helmets, and after minimal instruction off we went. We were both happy when they were just walking along through the state forest. climbing up hill and down dale, meandering along trails winding through gum trees... trotting not so enjoyable ... quite apart from the effect on one's rear, my knees let me know that the angle they were on was not fun. I expected to be realy sore this arvo but the knees are fine at least for now. I can feel it when I sit tho :]
We saw several mobs of grey kangaroos and 2 of the biggest males I've ever seen. Both were easily 6 feet tall. Anyway, they held their ground for quite a while, albeit at a distance, and I don't think it would've been pleasant to come across them on foot and alone. They can be bloody belligerent when the females are threatened. It was a glorious sunny day, barely a cloud in the sky and a rather nice way for us to spend the day. Whether we'll do it again I don't know
Since we got back, Nadie has cast on for a new scarf in a laceweight acrylic faux-mohair in dark blue with an ever so slightly jade undertone. I started her a pair of plain striped socks last night in Bendigo Woollen Mills new Caprice Alpaca/ wool blend in a heathery purple and mulberry. Probably not as strong as sock wool should be but it's just beautiful stuff ... a slight sheen and sooooooo soft. She knows she'll have to hand wash 'em too. Anyway as the photo shows, sock one is coming along nicely and I should be up to the toe shaping before we go to bed tonight. Just as well, seeing she's going home tomorrow and a 2hr drive is a bit too far to go just to measure whether a sock fits.
It is so nice to just be able to sit side by side on the couch, with my DD and a cat or two, or three, or four and just knit away while watching Roswell DVDs on the box.
Sunday, August 27, 2006
The girls started arriving at 10 this morning and mostly left between 3 and 4 this arvo. Not sure how much sewing or knitting was done but much consumption of food and beverages and much chat. Barbmac brought up her finished Harry Potter quilt, which was duly admired by all. Barb - remind me who did the quilting? Anyway, whoever it was had quilted all sorts of Hogwarts related words in the backgrounds of the blocks, so for instance, the dragon block said [ in the quilting] welsh green, swedish short snout, hungarian horn tail etc.
Raelene was working on a totally masochistic almost miniature double wedding ring, Robyne from Daylesford was making pussycats, Luz wanted a lesson in knitting on 4 needles, Nadie was puddling on with her first scarf in garter stitch and I was sewing on the binding on David's new quilt in between feeding and watering people.
We're currently watching/listening to the Rent DVD which is my current favourite. Nadie particularly loves it because she saw the live show a couple of times back in about 1998 or 99 with her brother and Christina [ then his girlfriend, now his wife ].
Saturday, August 26, 2006
There's still plenty of cloud just hanging around producing nothing ...bludgers ... but the sun is out and the sky is blue. If it's not going to precipitate, well, then I want sun.
I've nearly fallen asleep on the couch twice already while I was trying to knit and I have to drive into town at 3pm to collect some stuff
so I got up and set the oven timer [just in case I did it again] then wandered outside to take some photos. I think I'm awake now. btw if you look very hard at the centre of the top photo, that patch of grey is my nearest neighbour's water tank. Go on, look hard and use your imagination.
Nadie is coming up tomorrow with her cats and I have promised to take her trail riding over towards Daylesford on Monday, if the weather holds.
Tomorrow is a UFO day so some of my quilting buddies are driving up nearly 2 hrs from Melbourne. I anticipate much eating, drinking, chatting and a little quilting and knitting. It's funny y'know, we've been having these stitch and bitch sessions for over 20 years and now the term has been appropriated by one lone american and all of a sudden the name is copyright and we can't use it anymore. I love it that knitters [of which I'm pretty obviously one ] have finally cottoned on to the whole practising-our-craft-in-a-public-group thing but still I have a momentary angst about the whole 'you can't call it that anymore ' issue. Tell me I can't and it just makes me want to dig in my heels all the more. Nola, if you're reading this, my memory says we started referring to the friendship group as S & B in 1985 or 6 ...right?
Ok why am I up at 7am on a Saturday? Couldn't sleep so I wondered out to feed the fire , cats and goats in that order and then got sucked into turning this on. A cuppa later and the sky was starting to look glorious. In the time it took to grab the camera, find fresh batteries, load them and turn it back on, the glorious red sunrise had faded to this. The sky is much greyer than it appears but I doubt there'll be any rain [ bugger] Currently 2.8 degrees C up from an overnight of zero.
Friday, August 25, 2006
Having already tried rug hooking, Chris, the valiant art teacher is trying to interest some of the clients that have enough fine motor skill in learning to knit. Due to lack of funds they were making do with acylic from Go-Lo, and while I'm not a yarn snob, I don't think acrylic is going to be as easy for them to learn with as wool.
I've just sorted through the stash and pulled together a bag of all those odd leftover balls of mostly 8-ply [ sport] wool in various colours and 3 pairs of moderately large size needles that I have multiples of.
Maybe Chris would welcome another pair of hands too.
and while I'm more or less on the subject, DD Nadie's original motivation in [re] learning to knit recently was so that she could help one of the disabled clients where she works. She'll probably be horrified that I'm 'sharing' this here, but I'm intensely proud of the caring people my children are growing into.
oh and I was crocheting the baby shawl at a local coffee shop this morning while waiting for my skinnycap, and the waitress asked for a reminder on how it was done. I've promised to help her further if she needs it of course... maybe I can get a SnB up and running up here ... would be good.
In the outside photo that's Rosie on the left and Robyn on the right and vice versa in the one with Sumi [ or is that Suki?] For anyone who is interested in such things, Rosie is a 2 yr old purebred Saanan and Robyn is a 3 yr old Boer-Cashmere-Saanan cross
Thursday, August 24, 2006
Here's the result of the trip to Bendigo on Tuesday minus the ball of the earth toned stuff I used for the previous post [ oh and I have just got back from picking David up so I now have an 8mm circ to go on with ]
Those balls at the back are nearly 800 metres each. That's over a kilometer and a half of boucle thread and I would've bought a lot more of the gorgeous stuff at the front if they'd had more. Bad knitter :]
Last night I realised that I couldn't be bothered with fighting the mystery object and decided to use some of the yarn from Tuesday's spend up [see below] . Spotlight's home brand range is called Moda Vera, presumably in an effort to make us think it's some exotic italian import [ yeah right] and this is their MV Melody which is a super soft shaggy chenille. It was out for $1 a 100m ball so I grabbed 6 in this colourway and 5 0r 6 in a blue/teal/reddish one. This is going to be a hooded poncho for The Peanut for next winter... sort of in the spirit of one on the Lionbrand site, but only loosely. I used about the same sized needles and swatched it which gave such a radically different stitch and row count from their yarn that I just sat down and refigured the maths. Then I decided that the original pattern wouldn't show in this type of yarn so I've gone with stocking stitch and a garter stitch border. Also I decided against knitting the hood as a seperate rectangle,.. given my dislike of unnecessary sewing up and sewing in of ends, I'm going to pick up on circs and do a 3 needle cast off on the top. I WAS going to graft it, but I don't think Kitchener stitch would be fun with this stuff. Thanks to Lorinda for suggesting the alternative :]
I got the back and front out of JUST ONE BALL and the hood will take less than another ball. Any suggestions for what to make with other 4 balls. Matching uggs would be cute but that won't use up 4 balls will it?
Of course I don't actually have 8mm circs so I'm at an impasse until later this arvo when I go back into town. The LYS is pretty dismal with a surly owner but it's better than wasting an hour and a half and $15 worth of fuel to save maybe $3 on the needles in Bendigo
The daffs, jonquils and mini narcissus are all telling me spring is nearly here ... and all those weeds that are coming so lushly through the pebbles have all been zapped with the glysophate so they're not long for this world.
Wednesday, August 23, 2006
Not for much longer
Without ANY public consultation, council has given permission for a Subway to open on one of the highest profile corners in the absolute centre of this goldfields heritage town. If it was perhaps a km or 2 further out we wouldn't be so unhappy but the familiar bright yellow and green signage is NOT really in keeping with,for instance, the ambience of the Theatre Royal 3 doors down [ which has been in operation since the early days of the goldrush]
Now don't get me wrong, Subway make good low-fat food and if one MUST have fast food, one could do a lot worse. If I was 16 I'm sure I'd be thrilled. That there was no public consultation is appalling.
ok rant over
back to knitting the mystery object
Today was quilting day in Castlemaine. Goldfields Quilters are a small group - only 30 of us [ but only about half at any one time ]- but very very friendly. We encompass the whole spectrum of quilting interests and skills - contemporary, innovative, country and traditional. Beginners and experts and everything in between. Good fun
I drop DS David off at his day placement in town around 9 ish and roll up to quilting at 9.30. Three of us dash off for an hour mid morning for our bellydance class, then back till about 3. Sometimes we even manage to get some sewing done. I was working on the reverse applique block for the current japanese quilt and just finished it by the time I had to leave to pick David up again at 3. Then home to try and do something about the poor injured goat.
I managed to pen her up in the small goat shed and Pete-next-door came over and held her down while I tried to wash the wound out a bit. She'll lose the area of cheek that's torn but hopefully all will be well. Not much else I can do when she's not actually mine.
I can't get hold of her to clean it up [ this is the one that we sometimes call Harriet Houdini for her ability to undo any collar] but the eyeball seems ok... just yuck.
Owner Pete duly came over to have a look but we're talking typical country bloke with that 'she-be-right' attitude to livestock. So no calling a vet.
She's still eating and drinking thank goodness but I feel squeamish everytime I look at the poor little beggar.
I guess this is the downside of living the rural idyll.
and no, I won't subject you to a photo.
Bellydancing and quilting today.
Tuesday, August 22, 2006
Yes dear, and when I say on special I mean 50% and more off, so I spent 80 something bucks and got HUGE amounts of lovely stuff for Nadie, moi and The Peanut. In my defence I didn't go to Bendigo Woollen Mills on the [ very much out of the way] way home.
How much to buy of each was a challenge because I couldn't remember offhand what she wanted made in each, so I guessed... and I was really pretty restrained... could easily have bought three times as much.
I need to live till I'm 120 with all faculties and fingers intact.
these are Sumi and Suki, the 2 part-siamese ladies that I gave DD Nadie to celebrate her moving into a unit that allowed pets.
They think their Mum's and Nanna's knitting is great fun.
Mystery knitted object is progressing but the camera has flat batteries so I'll post a photo later. Taught quilting in Bendigo today, now about to go back for a clogging class [ my first in 3 years at least] and before anyone asks... clogging is not some esoteric knitting or quilting technique, it's Appalachian tap dancing.
Monday, August 21, 2006
this is the current project, started today. 8-ply [ sport / DK ] pure wool from Bendigo Mills. It was in a Simply Knitting Mag that friend Maz brought up this past weekend. The putting-together directions leave more than a little to be desired but I will probably figure it out ... I hope.
Had a glorious day again ...20deg C ... not a cloud in the sky. Hard to believe it's winter. Some rain would be nice at this point.
Anyway, potted some rose cuttings, caught up on housework and sat out on the verandah knitting and drinking in the view. Not a bad day all round.
Saturday, August 19, 2006
Beautiful, clear, sunny day. Primulas planted. I'm thinking the wicker chair on the verandah looks like the place to be while I dismember sock #2. Maybe with a cup of chai... and the Rent soundtrack. Na ... something quieter and celtic .... maybe Natalie MacMaster .
and this is what the view WILL look like in a month or so, once the frosts are over.
Friday, August 18, 2006
Mr and Mrs Crimson Rosella [ don't ask me which is which, the sexes are identical unless you're a hell of a lot more up close and personal than I am ever likely to be ] sitting outside my kitchen window. I know that they are a common bird but I still think they're gorgeous.
Spent the day splitting firewood with a hydraulic splitter ... great fun . Well actually, Chris did the splitting, I just hauled logs and pushed wheelbarrows and located likely candidates for being given the chop. As a truly thrilling end to the day I trimmed the goat's toenails. Yeah, I know, my life is just SOOO thrilling.
and here is the Melbourne footy beanie that I made for The Peanut. [ grandbubby-to-be ] Made a pompom for it this morning which is about as close as I've gotten to knitting so far, although I intend to attack sock #2 after tea.
I felt really angry when I got back from town today. I arrived at the supermarket car park just in time to see a woman arrive and get off her pushbike to which she had attached the leash of a
reasonably young looking Staffordshire terrier who had presumably been forced to run along behind said bike [ and believe me, staffys are not built for running ] and was then tied up at the supermarket with no water for at least the half-hr that I was there. She had disappeared before I got close enough to realise how distressed the dog was. Anyway, I borrowed the top of a friend's thermos to give it some water and he was still shaking after half an hour and had his tail firmly between his legs even while he was looking for a pat. He was definitely underweight too, poor little sod. If I knew his owner's name the RSPCA would be getting a call. Some people should not have animals.
Thursday, August 17, 2006
You need to use your imagination with this one. Presently it's a collection of japanese fabric folded / cut and pinned to the design wall. The reverse applique calligraphy will say 'peace' when it's finished and there will be sashiko dragon flies to break up that expanse of blue in the top left. I think I'm happy with the shibori dyed pieces but I MAY turn them 90 degrees so the stripes are more like water [ which will of course mean I need to cut new bits ] No... just realised I can't do that because of the orientation of the shiborii stripes in the reverse applique...ah well.
Looking at the photo I'm feeling that it needs to be longer ...have to ponder on that
This quilt is intended to be a companion piece to the one I gave bestest quilting bud Beryl for her 60th. When I have a photo of that I'll post them together for comparison but at the moment I'm working on this one without any reference to the other ... many of the fabrics are identical and for some of them the shape was dictated by the cuts that were left from the first one ... could be interesting later to see where the fabrics ended up. This one is definitely more blue than Beryl's. Her's says 'friend' btw.
The darkish bit pinned to the top right is what is left of the fabric I used to bind the first one. I pinned it up so I wouldn't either a] cut into it or b] put it away and lose it in the Great Wall of Fabric.
Chris and Maz are on their way up from Melbourne so I probably should put some sheets on their bed.
Tuesday, August 15, 2006
Sock one is taking a keen interest in the emergence of sock two. Sock one is desperate for a mate.
Me?... I just want warm toes. It was minus a half again last night and the cyclamen pink bed socks were put to their intended use
Oakley has just ambushed sock two so I have to go save it from becoming a cat toy.
Monday, August 14, 2006
It's easy to see that Spring isn't all that far away. There's been a lot of bossy territorial behaviour from the black-faced cuckoo shrikes and the crimson rosellas. I've been putting out wool and batting scraps for the nest builders and it never lasts for very long.
The Iris are in full flower and the daffs and jonnies are almost there. Mind you, both these photos are in extreme close-up because the garden as a whole still looks pretty bloody dismal.
The days have been glorious... not far off 20deg C ... but the nights are still hovering down around zero. Good weather for gardening during the day and curling up with something on the needle[s] in front of the fire later. I could wish the heater was a little more efficient but there is something rather comforting about staring into leaping orange flames.
Planted some of last year's rose cuttings [ Leander and Mary Rose ] divided up some large white Shasta Daisies and the white w purple centred Veldt Daisies.
Sunday, August 13, 2006
Saturday, August 12, 2006
this is Sophie checking out the size of the basket before and after felting. Before the stitches and rows are quite distinct. After, it has thickened up considerably, shrunk by about a third of the diameter and the stitches and rows can't be distinguished.
I think the next one [ if there is one] will have higher sides, but for a first effort and for a pattern that was made up as I went, it's not too damn bad!! I probably should write the pattern down before I forget what I did.
Still getting over the flu... David stayed in bed watching tv until 6pm ... so a lazy day today. I knitted 2 Mobius scarves and planned the next quilt. The bare minimum of housework was done... no surprise there.
Friday, August 11, 2006
Anyway, it didn't stop me going to patchwork / dance class[es] / teaching in Bendigo / gardening... so I probably shouldn't have been surprised that by Tuesday I was so tired that I needed to pull off the road twice on the way to Bendigo and back. Never claimed to have any common sense!
Ok pity-party over.
Today's photos are the cat basket in various stages of progress and finally felted. It was a bit of an experiment in the sense that pretty much all the directions for washing-machine felting are written assuming that you have a top-loading machine. I don't. Front loaders are fabulous for conserving energy and water but you can't 'check after 5 minutes' like the directions say. Felting gets done at a hot setting but my machine's hot programs go for over 3 hrs. Hence the experimenting. I started it of on the cotton program for 10 minutes, turned off the machine to wipe the memory and then started again with cold and the short cycle. .. and repeat. It took 2 goes before it felted up as much as I wanted it to and then 5 or 6 days to dry it. It's Sophie sized but Oakley insists on trying to sit in it to her disgust.
Sunday, August 06, 2006
Since dinner, he's been vegging out in front of the tellie and I've made a start on the beret for Robyn's birthday.
Nothing remotely resembling housework has been done today.
Saturday, August 05, 2006
Sock 1 of the squared sock http://gailbable.tripod.com/id24.html was done a couple of weeks ago in a plain mid-grey 8-ply [sport] weight merino from Bendigo Wollen Mills... Lovely stuff... and is a perfect fit. He/she/it lies folorn in the bottom of my knitting bag, bereft and alone because I haven't made it a mate yet.
I've avoided sock 2 by making 2 tie-on cotton headband/earwarmers for Nadie, a Melbourne Footy Club beanie for Peanut, a pull-on newborn sized beanie for the charity box and several rows on the baby shawl I crochet when I need something mindless ... oh ... and I crocheted and felted a cat basket!
I think that maybe I suffer from the dreaded second-sock syndrome: I LOVE making sock #1 [ or sleeve or whatever the-first-one-of-two it is ] and then I'll cast around for something else to start rather than coming to grips with sock #2. Maybe I'm afraid it won't match sock #1 ... which is what happened with the first pair I made...I missed out on the decreases for the instep and ended up with something that is more akin to a bedsock. So that's what they are. Of course I meant to make cyclamen pink bedsocks.
Maybe writing all this down will make me get on with it ... yeah and pigs will fly .
Friday, August 04, 2006
I've decided to bite the bullet and join the burgeoning ranks of bloggers. The sun has just come up, it's a misty winter morning and the goats haven't yet realised that I'm awake so there have been no pointed enquiries as to the likelihood of immediate breakfast.
The high point of last week was getting a Highly Commended in Professional Innovative at Jeff's Shed [ aka the Melbourne Exhibition Centre ]
Missed the awards ceremony but travelled down by train the next day to see it in all it's glory [!] and to collect the rosette and prize ... $100 to spend at Michelle's Sewing Basket ... yahoo ... thankyou Michelle!
Caught up with some special friends [ you know who you are ] and managed to not look at any of the merchandise. The japanese quilt exhibition was stunning of course, and it was great to see the 90 International Challenge Quilts all in one place. Felt a bit weird seeing my one after a year. It's been to Japan and will go to France next year... both places I'd love to see... International Challenge
The high point of THIS week was definitely finding out the sex of the grandbaby-to-be ... it's a boy btw ... and seeing the scan.
I've already knitted him a Melbourne footy beanie, now I have to figure out the pattern for a newborn sized footy jumper.
ok that's it...end of first post... gotta go feed the animals