Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Tuesday, February 27, 2007


If you have a good memory, you may remember THIS quilt:

which I finished last October.

You may also remember, if your memory is really, really, really good, that it was made as a sort of sibling for the one I made Beryl for a certain significant birthday in aught six... of which there was never any photographic proof.

For all you know, I could've been making it up, right? That quilt might have just been a figment of my vivid imagination. After all, almost no one over here got to see it finished. Maybe I DID make it up.


Here 'tis. Beryl's quilt and mine for almost side-by-side comparison.

Pretty much the same cuts of the same fabrics, different positioning, and of course, different kanji. Hers says friend. [ cos she is ] and mine says peace.

and I'm a happy little vegemite because Beryl is over from tassie at the moment and coming up on the train tomorrow for four-and-a-half days.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Happy mail, spinning and a pain in the proverbial

Do you have yarn in your stash that you will probably never use but is too good to toss down to the Thrift Shop? I know I do. So do the wonderful gals over at GoodYarnKarma and so they've set up a Blog where you can give, receive or exchange those yarns. Needless to say, it is NOT all about the receiving only folks.
I've already been the recipient of Nora's largesse when this gorgeous ball of Opal lobbed into the Post Office Box the other day. I can even admit to you that there were several other offerings that had me drooling but I managed to restrain my baser self. I have a little pile of my own all sorted and ready to go. Basically just need to be sure that a particular friend doesn't need some of it first.
Quilting wise, I'm playing with something very new that you can't see yet, and the Challenge quilt looks much the same as when you saw it last.
Knitting wise, I'm making this but out of a purple /blue yarn. First side done, second side started at the Drs during my one hour wait. Yes. I know I'm so close to finishing my modified version of this little top [ changed the lace , kept the shaping ] but just had one of those " gotta start a new project" moments. So shoot me :] and just in case I didn't have enough on the go:
Friend Di came over yesterday and helped me overhaul the Ashford wheel that my dear friend gave me last month. I spent a lot of yesterday just practising treadling. Thank God for dancer's leg muscles!! No actual spinning to show yet.

Now the rest of this post is of a medical nature and probably very boring so feel free to surf on:

I've just had a VERY interesting visit with my GP. Those of you who've known me for a while are aware that I've had periodic episodes of spinal ''difficulties' with the L4/L5 ever since falling down a flight of stairs while I was preggers with dave [ so 29 years ago nearly ] but nothing really major recently. Right? Okay. Well about 3 months ago, I sat down hard on the gravel slope between the house and the shed and my coccyx has been letting me know about it ever since. Only when I sit or get up mind you ... but REALLY unhappy. Maybe it was just getting jealous of all the attention L4 & L5 used to get. Who knows?
Anyhoo, our relationship is not good at this point. I keep telling the base of my spine it's a pain in the bum ... and it really doesn't have an adequate comeback for that.
Dr thought it would settle down. It didn't. So last week I had x-rays done and today was the follow up. No evidence of a dislocation or similar ... but what DID show up was a very old CLEAN BREAK right through the coccyx that had never been picked up on because presumeably everyone was focusing higher up on the known damage to L4 and L5. You tell an x-ray technician to do a lumbar series and of course that's what they'll do. As no-one thought to order a full set........... I got to limp around with a broken bum. As you can imagine, the being pregnant part of it meant no x-rays, no pain killers, no anti-inflams. For five bloody months. No wonder David's delivery was so bloody painful.
So there we are. The recent fall hasn't rebroken it or anything, just made it unhappy. We're going to try acupuncture.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

I'm ba-aaack :] and another free wristwarmer / mitten pattern

Dr Chris [ aka The Boy] has performed life saving surgery on the 'puter and she lives to try my patience another day. He and Nadie came up yesterday with Suki and Sumi and left around dinnertime tonight. Ms Sophie is still patrolling the house to make sure that the furry interlopers have actually gone home although she coped much better than usual and was on snuggling terms with Nadie almost immediately. Usually the 'I'm highly offended' act is good for at least a couple of days of growling and hissing.

I haven't been completely idle despite the absolutely stinking hot weather, so here's the latest of the current lot of totally-out-of-season wristwarmers. Nice, simple garter stitch but with a little bit of lace for interest. They are actually a much deeper jade than the photo shows... and just in case you are interested in how such things spring into being: the pattern is my take on one that has been used since time immemorial to make umpteen gazillion covered coathangers for every fete, fair and street stall that ever was. I see possibilities for wristwarmers in all sorts of places at the moment it seems, and when Maz sent me the pattern for the coathangers, after I'd cranked out a few, it just seemed logical to work out how to put that lace bit on both ends of a wider strip of garter stitching. The other thought that occurs is ... this pattern is basically reversible so it SHOULD make a neat scarf pattern. I'd probably cast on around half as many stitches and go up a couple of sizes on the needles to make the garter stitch a little lacier. If you try it, drop me a line and a photo, ok?
Wristwarmers / fingerless mittens

[1]50gram ball of Heirloom 5-ply pure wool [ any sockweight should work ]

1 pair 4mm / US size 5 /UK size 8 needles

gauge: 23 - 24 stitches to 4" over garter stitch

Cast on 48 stitches [ or about 38 for a shorter pair ]

Row1: k to last 4 stitches, YO, k2tog,YO,k2

Rows 2-7 * repeat row 1 a further 6 times

Row 8: cast off [ bind off] 4 stitches, k to last 4 stitches, YO, k2tog, YO, k2

Row 9: repeat row 8*

Repeat rows 2-9 until you have 9 points on each side of the garter stitch strip or number necessary to fit around wrist, ending with row 8.

Cast off remaining stitches.

Sew side seam from base of the point for about 1 3/8", leave 2" or a little less unseamed for the thumb hole, and sew remainder of seam to the base of the [other end] point. Of course you can make the short seam even shorter if you don't want the lacy bit to come so far up the fingers.

and of course:
this pattern is copyright 2007 S.Iacuone for personal and charity use only.
For any other use please contact me.
Knew you'd do the right thing :]

Gratuitous cute cat photo: Suki[ko]

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Technical difficulties, please stand by

Hi all, Nadie here. Just a quick note to let you know mum can't access the web at the moment. Her email is fine so she is still receiving your comments, but she won't be able to post for a while.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

I mozzed myself

I shouldn't have made that ' no snakes in 2 years' comment in the last post.

Today as I stepped out the back door, a snake wriggled between me and the doorstep. ERK

Before you all panic, it was about 12" long , pencil slim and only interested in getting away from me.

I looked it up on the Museum of Victoria site and it seems to be a red-naped snake. [ except that this isn't supposed to be their territory ... more to the northeast] and yes they are venomous but then all aussie snakes are. One site labelled them dangerous, the other said that they rarely pose a problem for adults.

It was actually the second reptilian visitor of the day but the other was much cuter... a very fine boned, incredibly fast member of the Dragon family. He stuck around long enough for me to get the camera too. He's about 12" including tail.

Now getting back to Thursdays post:

Robyn and I decided to have a girlie day before she starts back at Uni, so...

we started with coffee and then a visit to the local library where the

monks from Drati Khangtsen in Tibet were creating a sand mandala. All of that was done with coloured sand poured through long brass cones.The monks were quite amenable to my taking photos but I kept the flash off so's not to disturb the meditation. We both bought bracelets, and then back to the car and off to Kyneton where we mooched up and down Piper street which is where all the antique and craft shops are. Purchases were fairly modest ... a sunhat given I'd come out without one, a black china cat for Nadie, some cards , lunch and some wool to knit a hat for felting. Not that I really needed the wool but the pattern was tossed in free with purchase and I figured that I might as well do something in the recomended wool for once. Huge mistake. The pattern was not worth the paper it was printed on ... Heaven help a beginner who tried to follow it... the wool wasn't particularly soft to knit with and a ginormous amount of dye ran out of the hat when I washed it. It DID felt up ok but the strong teal, jade and navy I chose is now a soft purplish heathery mix. As it happens I quite like it but it wasn't what I was aiming for.
Still, despite the heat, and the whinge about the pattern, a lovely day was had.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Bits and Bob

It's hot, it's steamy and there is absolutely no rhyme or reason to today's post. Basically I'm just catching up on a few photos that I didn't manage to fit into other posts over the last week.

So first we have one of the local wriggly things ... Bob3... doing a good impersonation of a snake. He's a shingle back or bob-tailed [ hence his name ] lizard and part of a group that seems to like living amongst my roses but given the possibilty that anything brown and slithery might not be one of the Bobs, I still exercise caution until I see legs. For the record I have not seen a single snake in the 2 years I've been up here but that doesn't mean they're not out there. I DID try to get him to pose with a ruler so that you could see that he's about 8" long and much bigger than either Bob or Bob2, but he declined to co-operate in a very definite and messy fashion that I won't elaborate upon.

Next is a completely unrelated Op Shop [Thrift Store ] find... a children's stencil set by Spears dating from about the 1920s. It was really the wonderful graphics on the dusty, dilapidated box that attracted me but even so I hesitated over the $10 that they were asking for it. Dumb I know. Probably wouldn't have thought too hard if I'd seen it at that price at an antique fair. Anyway once I got it home it was fairly obvious that in addition to the original 1920s animal set that it originally contained, there were a couple of sheets from a 30s Art Deco set and a much later lot from maybe the 50s . or early 60s judging from the car and the jet. The pink elephant's trunk has been sticky taped in the dim dark past and you can see that the duck/goose has lost her legs but the more modern lot hasn't been used at all. I've glued the box back together and tidied it up . Still think it was pricey for an Oppy though.

THIS is what I gave Nadie for her 25th birthday on Monday : an ankle bracelet and the tattoo

David gave her THIS:

and I'm still waiting for her to Blog about her birthday :]

THESE are some premmie hats I've knitted over the last month or so and donated this week

and finally I just had to share last night's sunset with you. I was inside and the whole front of the house [ facing more or less East ] seemed bathed in deep golden pink, so I went out and looked back over the roof towards the West and saw THIS : When I walked through to the back to take some more, Rosie and Robyn came over to enquire whether I wanted my elbow nibbled [ no thankyou ] or the camera strap eaten [ ditto].

I had a really interesting day today that involved tibetan monks, sand, a new hat and some wool but I'll probably tell you more about that next time.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

just call me Noah

I know that Nadie jokingly suggested that The Boy's parents send some of Queensland's excess rain down here, but seriously, I didn't realise that they had THAT much pull with the gods of weather.

Skies were blue, clouds were fluffy white and then THIS rolled over the horizon accompanied by the sound of thunder but high up. Yeah okay ... a bit grey but that means zip... and when the thunder is that high overhead we generally get zero in the way of precipitation.

So no need to get excited yet. I go back to painting the en-suite and even when I have to put the light on, even though it's only about 4pm, I really don't give it too much thought until the lights flicker out.

About ten seconds later and someone has started firing off a canon. No wait ... that's rain on the tin roof. I'd kinda forgotten what that sounds like... and that's not fog folks it's rain and my driveway doing its impersonation of a river.

It's POURING down. Where are those directions for building an Ark when I need them ? Okay... two of every kind? I've got two cats... check... two goats...check...

Putting the ark idea on hold, I then wade out to unblock the storm water drain that feeds down to the dam cos all that lovely wet stuff is running off down to the road. As I stand there getting drenched through to the undies, lightening and thunder go off simultaneously overhead and I speedily come to the conclusion that standing outdoors holding a large lump of metal in the form of a shovel isn't the brightest thing to be doing in the middle of a thunderstorm.

About this time Rosie and Robyn chime in to let me know that they are cut off from their shed by the rising tide and being the fussy little madams that they are, don't want to get their feet wet, so as I go back inside, accompanied by the sound of complaining goat, I find Rosie perched somewhat precariously on the back doorstep [ as in literally ON the one-brick-wide doorstep ] while Robyn has taken refuge at the other end of the house and climbed onto my bedroom windowsill.


My bedroom smells like a wet goat which is marginally better than wet dog.

You can see the goat paddock cunningly disguised as a lake of silty water and floating goat poo behind Robyn. I don't particularly blame the pair of them for wanting to stay high if not exactly dry.

I was going to show you a photo of all the shit [ literally] that ended up in the dam but it's just too gross. Thank God I don't have to rely on that for washing or drinking.

But I no complain ... oh no ... rain is GOOD

Saturday, February 10, 2007

catch up

Wednesday morning started off with a coffee in town followed by a couple of hours of belly dancing. The first hour was Susie's new beginners and not a class I would normally go to. She'd had an abdominal exploratory last week so I was there as backup if needed. She's a stubborn beggar so although I probably WAS needed, she managed pretty much on her own apart from taking over for 5 minutes when she needed to 'be elsewhere'
My normal class should've finished at 12 but was running 20 minutes behind. No matter. I had to go. I raced back home, shed some of the glittery trappings, grabbed a large suitcase of quilts and headed for Maryborough [ 40 minute drive ] trying NOT to exceed the 100 kph speed limit while still arriving by 1 pm ... which I did ... just.
This meeting was in the order of a meet-and-greet for the ladies who will be involved in our arts access project for the next 6 months. The gallery officer welcomed me and talked about the project. I showed them some of my stuff... and talked about the project,
Jenny Bacon, quilter and health professional showed her quilts... and talked about the project... and then we answered questions and had afternoon tea. I had to cut that short and jump in the car because of the need to be back in town to pick up David at 3 ... which I almost managed.
Luckily the rest of the day was a lot calmer.
Thursday, Friday and today have been fairly unremarkeable.

the Lotus Blossum tank top from Interweave Knits summer 2006 in 8ply [dk] cotton from Bendigo Woolen Mills in a plummy almost pink. I started out doing it as per the pattern and decided that the pattern required more concentration than I want to give it at the moment, so I frogged it and started again. This time round I'm doing the body of it in good old feather and fan which can be done without putting the brain into gear, while reading or watching the teev. It's really the SHAPING of the garment I'm attracted to anyway. So far I've only done a couple of inches so I haven't photographed it yet.
Just finished Bellydancing for Beginners , a novel by Liz Byrski. Really good except for the contrived cop-out last page. Such a shame. It almost ruined an otherwise fabulous read.
Also just finished Proven Guilty by Jim Butcher. #8 in the Dresden Files and just as good as the previous ones. I wonder if we'll ever get the Dresden Files tv show here?
Torchwood DVDs

finished objects so far in 07 :
cotton polo for Riley
pr socks also for Riley
premmie hats for donation [5]
pairs of wristwarmers [5]
covered coathangers [4] and yes I know they're daggy but the clothes DO hang better
sashiko cushion

and so far these are all from my stash!!

and in the "Weird but True File" we have the dietary quirks of my goats. Apart from the fact that they managed to eat a complete 20 gallon plastic tub, Rosie will eat celery and banana skins, Robyn won't. Both love carrots but Robyn won't eat them straight from the fridge and has discovered a liking for Nadie's leftover rice milk which Rosie won't touch. They both eat roses, thorns and all, but only Rosie will eat holly leaves... AND they necessitated the replacement of every fly wire screen that they could reach [ all the bedrooms basically ] because they bloody ate them too!

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

and we had fun fun fun till Daddy took the T-bird

There was a cool change of sorts over night ... no rain of course... and so today has seen us with temps in the mid 20s C. Still summery gear but temperate.

Just as well because today was the first official ...meeting? .... assembly? ... getogether? ... of Purl's Princesses which is Stitch n Bitch without the bitching :] The weather being a touch more suited to pursuits of a wooly persuasion than it has been all week, Jeanette and I headed to Daylesford where we were almost bowled down the hill by the wind. Inside Purl's Palace however was an oasis of calm ... lovely wooly pheromones and luscious scents.

The inaugural GTG was attended by seven ladies and we had a very 'civilised' time. Knitting was done, felting and fulling admired, magazines and books perused and interesting teas imbibed from Zoe's beautiful japanese teaset.

THIS is what I was working on for most of the morning and no, it's not for Riley. Any guesses? It's in 3 strands of nearly 30 year old 2-ply laceweight so probably equivalent to sockweight or maybe DK on 3.75mm needles. I'd already finished and blocked the body so today I picked up for the sleeves and did those. Would've done the neck too but I managed to break one of the set of 3.75mm dpns so that was that until I got home. I spent the rest of the time sewing up the black alpaca fingerless mittens [ which I haven't photographed yet so that's a post for another day ] Anyway, here we have the always stylish but sadly blogless Robyn working on her Noro Silk Garden jumper [ sweater if you live in the U.S. ] while Alison checks out my mags. Jeanette [left] is knitting a sock on straights but only has part of the pattern so far. We're all waiting to see how it turns out.Barbara is working on a sweet vest in 8-ply [ DK ] from a Patons pattern.

This non-wooly ring-in is the sample I'd promised Zoe for my sashiko class using her vintage kimono fabric and if you're looking for confirmation of how anally retentive I can be, there are precisely seven stitches in each and every arc.

I managed not to get any photos of Faye Cunningham or her wonderful felted silk scarves or the funky little fulled bags. Sorry, you'll all just have to wait till next month.

Now I know that you must be absolutely bursting to know what/who the little wooly garment is for [ and if you're not, well ,tough luck ] so in the interests of maintaining the best of mental health amongst my gentle readers I give you....
drum roll please maestro
my tea-shirt
it's a t-cosy folks :]
Mmm I think a pot of Chai would be nice right about now. Will you join me?

Friday, February 02, 2007

the REAL challenge ...

... in this weather is to come up with enough motivation and energy to actually do anything. Actually, I lie. [ and not just the reclining on the couch that I'm doing rather a lot off ] The motivation is there sort-of, but between the heat and the FMS, well, energy is a major problem this week. Though actually, now that I come to think about it, the 3 hr Clogging class on Tuesday night probably wasn't a good idea. It was meant to be 4 hrs but by the time we'd tippy-tapped for 3 hrs with rather more frequent breaks than usual, we all decided that was enough for the first night back, given that it was still up round 30 deg C and hotter than hell in the hall.
Okay, forget I said anything. I think I just figured out WHY I was a little limp dishrag on Wednesday and Thursday. Sometimes I'm just a bit slow figuring these things out At least there was no bellydance class on Wednesday because I don't think I would've had the ooomph to get there, let alone dance.

Still, I've managed a little bit of activity on the Challenge each morning this week

We're getting into the fine tuning stage so some of the tweaking is pretty subtle. For example: I decided that the seam between the watery jade shibori and the geisha print was still too definite even though most of it will be covered by flowers. So I cut a bit off the shibori and pieced in a strip of dark jade moire chintz. You will barely be able to see it in the finished piece but the transition is smoother. Also I removed the hand dyed spacer next to the bottom carp and replaced it with the carp print. I also tried this with the spacer on the middle carp but somehow, because it's a much narrower strip, it was too intrusive so instead of reverting to the hand dye, I've cut a matching bit from the geisha print and I think I like that effect better.

A narrow strip of the jade moire chintz went into the left border as well. Repetition, repetition, repetition.

Have I mentioned yet that I'm piecing this on my 1951 Centenary model Singer Featherweight 221K1? Chris and Maz gave her to me for the big 5-0 birthday and until recently, I'd only used her for playing around. She's a lovely little girl and I'm actually really enjoying sewing on her without all the bells and whistles on the new[ish] Pfaff 2056. I DO wish she had a quarter inch foot though, cos I don't want to put masking tape on her beautiful, shiny, black finish.

Just so that you know just how much of a challenge this was ... THESE are the two fabrics we have to use an identifiable amount of. The small dotted one is interesting but whose bright idea was it to pair it up with that other one? They have completely different palettes for one thing.

Oh, and just so you know ... DD has decided to celebrate her impending quarter century by getting a tattoo. The deed was done yesterday and the evidence for anyone so inclined is here