Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Grumpy McGrumperson

Sorry about the unintentional blogging hiatus. Didn't mean to worry anyone.

Basically I've been feeling blecch from the infection, taking penicillin because I react to sulphinamides and some of the related ones as well BUT Cephalexin gives me a nasty stomach ache so still not great. Then of course there was the four+ hours spent Clogging [appalachian tap ] on Sunday at Daylesford . Illadvised when one is not at peak fitness, but I'd made the committment to be there and no way I was going to miss it. Plus I had a great time - no camera though so you miss out on the sight of a middle-aged Catsmum tapping her feet into blisters. Got to cue for the first time in ages and proved I haven't lost that particular skill. David spent the time alternatively watching the dancing and DVDs and eating enough junk food to last a month so a good day in his book I think :] I pretty much fell in a heap yesterday - then turned around, blisters and all, and drove back last night for the usual monday night class - got told I can cue as much as I like in future :] - and today I have David home with a cold which he seems to have shared with me, so I'm taking full advantage and staying in the jammies in front of the teev and the fire with only occasional forays to feed said fire or the livestock.

and speaking of livestock as I believe we just were:

Ms Caramel is still living in the linenpress most of the time, still not happy, and I have to say she would have to be the single most unlikeable cat I have ever met in my life. Oakley and Sophie share that view. Every overture is still being met with claws and/or teeth. She is a nasty, vicious little piece of work and she'd better settle down soon while I still have a few shreds of skin left unscarred.

the rest of my life in bulletpoint:
  • [Re]reading HP and the Order of the Phoenix, to be followed by Half Blood Prince before Nadie brings up Deathly Hallows next week. Also reading Norah Gaughan's Knitting Nature.

  • Knitting - well nothing really because the wrist was still sore but I'll get back to the current baby cardi that I haven't posted about in the next day or so -

  • crocheting STILL on the ripple baby blanket for friend Robyn to give some friend of hers I've never met. She thinks that she's doing me a favour by giving me something to 'keep me busy'. LOL Little does she know!!

  • quilting? Well I'll probably get back to finishing the binding/hanging on the current rock thingy and I've decided to hang it sideways after all and bugger the text. Upside down just looks flat out wrong but sideways not so much. I did even consider chopping it into three or four 'fragments' but decided against it.

  • I've finalised the design for the quilt that I have to do within the next month or so for the Johnstone collection and I'll fill you in on that next time. Not something I'm doing willingly but one makes a committment - or rather gets nagged into one - so I'll do it. Can you tell me why do it is that people think I have nothing to do in my life except their own particular pet little project? Yeah, yeah, I've already heard the one about how I should take it as a compliment. Today I'm not buying it... and for some reason I feel like I have to apologise because I'm having a negative day. What is this major flaw in my character that I can't admit to being bummed when I'm not well?

I'll leave you with these: an oilslick on the wet road in town yesterday morning - who WAS that mad woman crouching in the middle of the road with a camera? - and my quilt Oilslick [ made in 1995 but some of you won't have seen it ] I'm giving you two photos because neither of them is really true for colour.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

With apologies to Robbie Burns

Yes, the best laid plans of the Catsmum went badly awry
This should have been a post about the trip down to Melbourne on the train, for the Vic Quilters' Quilt Show [ State level big one for those OS ] and the associated mega craft expo thingy. There would have been tales of joyous reunion with my BFF Beryl over from Tassie for just the one day before flying out to England tomorrow.
There would have been glorious photos and sparkling text.
There would no doubt have been purchases...
and stunning quilts...
You would have been rivetted.
Instead I'm sitting here full of antibiotics and tetanus shot.
Last night, Ms Caramel decided that I was personally responsible for all that is ill in her world at the moment and fastened herself onto my wrist.
There was the full length of her not inconsiderable incisors buried into my soft and squishy bits.
There was blood.
There was pain.
There was not nice language.
There was a very uncomfortable, largely sleepless night and an early morning call to the Dr.
I am now home with extra puncture mark and pills.
and you want to know the worst thing?
the absolute worst thing?

It hurts too bloody much to knit or hand sew.

ETA Okay I'm doubly pissed off now about not going to Jeff's Shed. Just had a call from BFF Beryl to say that she won the awards for Best Amateur Small Quilt and also Best machine quilting on a domestic machine [ amateur ] and I WASN'T THERE TO SEE HER GET HER AWARD AND TO CHEER HYSTERICALLY.

Monday, July 23, 2007

happy squishy mail , a contest and a new cat

This arvo, I visited the lovely handmaidens of happy squishiness at the Post Office and was rewarded for my devotions before the high altar of postality with this:
lovely, lovely Koigu KPPM ... and not one hank but two :]

So I can die happy now.

No, I don't know what I'm going to make with it. For now it's probably enough that I'm going to pet it and surround it with luuuurve.
Big big thankyou to the lovely Rose Red

In other news Chez Catsmum, Chris and I spent Saturday rearranging the rumpus room. He has been talking about moving the teev outlet for the last several visits so this weekend it happened, entirely unaided by either Maz or my own sweet self, followed by general moving of furniture and books, during which my participation was mandatory. There was also the ritual hunting down of killer dust bunnies roughly the size of small sheep.

If this wasn't enough excitement for one weekend [ oh yes, it's a giddy old life I lead up here ] Sunday morning saw us all getting up at a highly uncivilised hour and making sure that the breakfast detritus was cleaned away before the parents of Nadie's friend Fee - being people I'd never met and therefore necessitating a clean kitchen bench - arrived on the doorstep with:
drum roll please
Ms Caramel Cat. Refugee from Melbourne and newest member of the menagerie.

Current abode:
the Linen Press, on top of the christmas linens
Current mood:
Not happy Jan!
Oakley and Sophie?
keeping right out of her way

Current state of the Catsmum:
scratched and punctured, quite possibly in the bad books with the other two, and trying to remember when she last had a tetanus shot.

Now don't forget that you have until midnight AEST on
August 4th to leave me a comment here detailing your current obsessions [ knitting, quilting, Blogging, whatever ] for a chance to win something 'noice' in my Blogiversary contest. Whether it is a quilty something or a woolly something or something completely different, will largely depend on who wins and what I can glean from your answers.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Sheepies at Bendy

You would've been proud of me. My maiden voyage to an Australian Sheep and Wool Show and I managed to keep entirely Knit From your Stash 07 legal. Yes, you did read that correctly. I did not buy so much as a skerrick of wool [ what's a skerrick anyway?]... and it was EVERYWHERE I tells ya.

There was wool, wool and more wool - glorious colours, heady scents, irresistible textures but I resisted. I am strong. I am invincible. I am ... oh sorry...channelling Helen Reddy there.

There was felt in all forms and permutations. There were the knitting competition entries - which I totally forgot to photograph -almost no baby knitting surprisingly but huge numbers of intricate lace shawls...
and then there were the sheepies. [ also alpacas and goats but they were on the far side and our feet wore out and time ran out before we reached them ] We also skipped the fashion parade for the same reason.

This is Baaaala [ I think they actually said it's spelled Barla which is supposed to be Hindi for girl, but I like my way better ]
At this point we'd been there about an hour and a half and had managed to move about a hundred metres from the entrance.

Then I ducked into the coloured sheep tent and saw what I am convinced is the world's fattest Border Leicester Ram

and I have no idea what this girly is but I loved her sweet face.

One thing that was really noticable was the sea of grey and white heads at all of the various Guild Exhibits : the Spinners and Weavers, the Handknitters, the CWA ladies - no wonder that stereotype still lingers. Where were all the funky young knitters and spinners and so forth that I know are out there? Well most of them were manning [ womaning? ] the stalls in the commercial area.

Speaking of which Jeanette and Maz decided that I didn't have enough sheep so they bought me two [toy] rams!! That would be them with the horns in the middle of this mug shot of most of the flock.The smaller one makes the most incredibly shrill baaaaing sound if you so much as look at it. I suspect that his batteries won't be replaced too often.

What else? Well, we met up with the lovely Barbara from Yarn Magazine, Maz had a great time talking vintage knitting gauges with The Button Lady and scored a limited edition carved bone one from Nepal, I had a long and involved pow-wow with the rep for Oertoel Electric wheels. All good stuff in fact but sadly undocumented with photos.

The only fly in the ointment was a lady from the Spinners and Weavers Guild stall who overcharged Maz and I $5 for the same magazine. We both bought that copy of Spin Off that has the Estonian lamb puppet on the cover and only realised once we got home that she'd charged us the original price of $15, not the $10 it was marked at :[
Maybe I should make sure I get my money's worth and knit a southern cousin for Ms Lulu.

Also on my wish list were a niddy noddy [ and she scores ]

hand carders [ scores again ]

and this knitted and felted sheep pattern that I didn't know was on the wish list until I saw it.

There were a 'few' other 'small' purchases but this post is picture heavy enough for one day so that's your lot.

Friday, July 20, 2007

It has to be gremlins

Well, after perusing all of the comments and much cogitation I decided to go with the original quilting plan [ for this one anyway ] and use the text horizontally. Apart from anything else it really does fit better that way.
So on Wednesday I hauled my gear over to the Maryborough Gallery and proceeded to baste, mark and quilt the piece. I even remembered to take my glasses this time. It is amazing how much difference it makes when one can actually SEE.
All according to plan, although it probably didn't do a lot for my powers of concentration that several people felt that they needed to watch closely and ask constant questions ...still it was duly done, packed up and carried off home in triumph, stopping only to admire the lambs by the roadside. [ yes Caity, I know, SHEEPIES ]
Fast forward a few hours and all I can think is that there must have been evil forces at work in my sewing room. The Anti-elves MUST have decided to 'help'.
How else do you explain the fact that when I went to bind it yesterday I discovered that the text was on UPSIDE DOWN.
Do you think anyone will notice if I go ahead and hang it the way I was planning to?
Maybe I can make up some artspeak mumbo jumbo to justify the upsidedown quote.

Okay I'm taking myself off to the Bendigo Wool and Sheep Show for the day with Maz and Jeanette to recover and indulge in things of a wooly persuasion.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

I need your help

Usually when I say " I need help" I'm being facetious about my ability to limit the size of the stash or one of the ever-burgeoning collections, but this time I would really like your design input. [ and no, not just the quilters ]
I stayed up till about 2 am last night working on another 'rock' piece based very, very loosely on the fractures in the exposed rock face out the back. When you're on a roll, y'know?

Back at it again today instead of doing the weekend housework [ what?? this SUPRISES you in some way? ] and I particularly like how the tiny strip pieced areas mimic the quartz / leader crystal seams.
No quandary so far.

I made the sections a bit over-long so that I could take umpteen photos with the various bits moved by a poopteenth of an inch to see what lined up [ or didn't ] with what, but I'm not going to inflict them all on you because on a screen this size I doubt that you would see much difference. It's enough that I do.
Yes I DO know that I'm more than a bit OCD when it comes to my quilts. Why do you ask? :]
Moving right along...
I've reached the stage where I can't see the wood for the trees to a certain extent and so I'd like your opinion as to whether this piece should be horizontal [ the way I created it ] or vertical. I'm going to use text from 'My Country' for the quilting again [ scroll down ] so I really need to make up my mind about the orientation.

The piece I showed you earlier in the week will remain in the collection of the Central Goldfields Gallery once the VicHealth project is over, but this one I'm working on now is separate to that.

So ... what do you think?


Your Score: The Cougar

Here's your results! Your spirit animal has a Nobility ranking of 13 out of 18.

Your spirit animal is the cougar. It is a stealthy and deadly protector. With a cougar as a spirit animal, you have nothing to fear in this world. Your life is blessed and you are on the right path. You will still have hard times, but you will pull through them, always stronger for your travails. Congratulations, few are fotunate enough to have such a spirit animal!

***Wondering how this animal was chosen for you? These questions were carefully thought out to see how important you hold certain virtues such as: humanism, self-knowledge, rationalism, the love of freedom and other somewhat Hellenic ideals. Some of the questions were very subtle. Your score was then matched with an animal of corresponding nobility. However, you shouldn't think this was a right/wrong sort of test, but more of an idealistic values test. It's ok to not hold these values, you'll just get an animal spirit of lower stature if you do!***

Link: The What is Your Spirit Animal Test written by FindingEros on OkCupid, home of the The Dating Persona Test

Chez Catsmum, midwinter

I have two birdbaths in the front of the house. One is sort of victorianish on a pedestal and made of something, shall we say, 'not natural' - plastic or resin or something else pretending to be aged iron. The other is a fairly substantial rustic terracotta curved bowl shape that I've set into a mound of [ artfully arranged ] rocks and dirt. This is an archival photo from summer when there was actual green stuff in there.
The pedestal one freezes at exactly 0.0 degrees but the other, perhaps being lower to the ground and a much larger volume of water, won't freeze until it gets to at least minus 3C.
Can you see where I'm heading with this? Yes, last night they both froze and as of 12 noon, they both still have ice on them. One tub of daffodil bulbs that had standing water in it even has shoots poking through the ice.
It's been a wee bit chilly.

In other news, it turns out we were a bit premature in celebrating Suki's return to health. She had to go back to the vet on Friday for shots including painkillers this time [ !] and is back this morning. So a $1000 or so down and not out of the woods yet.
This is not the woods she's not out of yet. It's the Bot Gardens again. Just wanted to show you another of the photos from Friday and lighten the mood a bit. I think this one's worth clicking on to look at bigger, if only for the reflection of the branches in the water... yep. That isn't another something growing out of the bank. That's the tree's reflection.
Anyway,to add to Nadie's woes, she has a really rotten cold so she and Suki are probably tucked up in bed being miserable together. .. or at the vet being miserable together.
Also my quilting friend Linda in Winnipeg lost her sister Anita this week after an 8 yr battle with lymphoma, so I'm feeling more than a bit sad for her loss. Particularly so because she's offline and out of reach in Montreal until the funeral is over.
...and if you want to be blown out of the water over the most incredible injustice being shown to a rape victim by the Nebraska court system, check this out at Yarn Harlot. Words fail me. Gotta go.

Friday, July 13, 2007

a cold goat and completely gratuitous cats

It was about 2 degrees when I got up this morning and the fire hadn't survived the night. Still at least the rosellas were happy that the bird bath wasn't frozen and any winter day without a minus in front of the minimum temp is a good one in my view. The goats, however, are of the opinion that I should install central heating in the Caprine Palace aka the goat shed and as soon as possible please. Well, not so much Robbyn. She's part cashmere and shaggy enough to be mistaken for a perambulating Flokati rug, which does convey a certain degree of insulation but poor Rosie is a Saanan and not possessed of a very substantial coat. This is the look of a singularly unimpressed pregnant doe. NOT HAPPY, JAN ! [aussie pop culture reference - there's also an entry on Wikipedia but Blogger didn't feel like cooperating with the link for some reason but you can all go look it up ]
and at the Castlemaine Botanical Gardens
all that was missing was the Lady Of The Lake wielding Excalibur.

Now don't forget that you can enter my Blogiversary competition by leaving a comment about your current obsession[s] here until August 4 and while you're at it , maybe go visit some of the other Bloggers who've commented afore ye.


Nadie? this is the casserole I got you yesterday. Oakley and Sophie included purely for purposes of scale [ and cuteness ]

Thursday, July 12, 2007


Yes! today marks my 200th post and the first Blogiversary will be upon us soon ... but more of that later
Don't expect cohesion or seamless segues today. There's simply too much to fit in. In fact there's stuff from last weekend that I can tell I'm just not going to be able to cram in here.
can you tell that I went to Bendigo today?
I was actually on a mission to try to find a particular pair of shoes for Nadie at the Rivers Superstore, and to pick up the latest Quilting Arts that Nicki was holding hostage, but what's a trip to Bendigonia if you don't also:
  • realise that Nicki is having a major sale and add a few choice cuts to the single lonely magazine. Just in the interests of keeping it company, y'know?
  • hit a second hand book store and score a 1930s Weldons for Maz for the grand sum of $8 complete with paper dress patterns and a Mabel Lucy Atwell frameable print. If she's already got it ... meh... it's mine. Not a problem.
  • traul quickly through Spotlight, manouvering around all the whiny anklebiters less than impressed at being dragged there on the school holidays. I was actually after a casserole for Nadie but they'd sold out. A good thing as you will see later :] So the actual damage: a couple of Christmas stocking stuffers, one Blog prize and 5 totally illegal balls of claret red Patons Zhivago to knit a certain something from the Zhivago book that Donni from Good Yarn Karma sent me a while back.

  • have a major blowout at the Woollen Mills but it was all from the magic sale room out the back so it doesn't count. Except for the 1 kg of spin ready navy blue roving. [ sorry about the big, shiny plastic bag in the photo that makes it look grey but I'm not game to open it. It's stuffed in so tight, the whole house could well disappear under a sea of fluffy blue stuff ] That was from the front room ... but spinning supplies don't count either. It's a RULE I tells ya.

Sheepish Annie will back me up on this I'm sure. $35 AUS for 1 kg [ that's 2.2 lbs ] of superfine ready to go, beautiful slightly variagated blue ... and in my own defense I didn't grab the purple and I DID put the jade back. Eventually.

What else?

  • hit a couple of Op Shops of course. Nothing much at the first but scored a vintage thread spool and a couple of little bits and pieces at the second... a vintage paper of pins and a reel of Clark's Thread. Oh and a huge [ 450 grams ] ball of frogged blue 8ply wool for $2 but when I got it home there were knots every few metres. Back in Castlemaine with half an hour before picking up David, I found a very big white lidded casserole for Nadie for $5 at the Salvos and a couple of vintage baby pattern books.

  • Still had a few minutes so I was heading for the newsagents when the eponymous Brenda from the woolshop popped her head out to tell me that Nadie's charcoal Zhivago was in. More yarn!! Just what I needed :] Still it's for a gift and she really wanted Zhivago and that particular colour so it's [ chant it with me ] Knit From Your Stash Legal !!! The project she's chosen is also from the book that Donni sent me.

While I'm on the subject of Good Yarn Karma, Sally aka Librarylass was after a Tunisian hook in a size that I just happened to have so we arranged a swap. I scored THIS in return. Alpaca. Yuuuum.

Now aside from all the retail therapy, there is also actual quilt progress. I tweaked the left vertical insert a bit with watercolour pencil and the rocks are quilted. I've 'written' the second verse of Dorothea McKellar's poem My Country in variagated tan/brown thread so the words appear and disappear depending on which fabric they fall on. This poem is almost unknown outside OZ but is probably the single best known and most frequently misquoted in the whole aussie poetry canon [ and I think it would be fair to say that most of us can only quote that second verse, although I can also manage the 'core of my heart' bit ]

Okay now if you're still with me


to celebrate the 200th post and the forthcoming Blogiversary, all you have to do is leave me a comment on this post between now and midnight August 4 [ Aus Eastern Standard Time ] telling me what you're obsessive about. It can be as general as 'quilting' or 'knitting' or you can be more specific. Also I need to know if you're a quilter, knitter/crocheter or spinner as that might influence the prize. If you're none of the above you can still enter. I promise I'll find you something 'noice'

Final choice will be made using a random number generator.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

on the mend and on the increase

First up for those of you who sent positive thoughts for little Suki ...well it worked. She's home again and doing much better but if you don't mind, we won't discuss the cost of several days at the vet's on a drip.
In other late breaking news the flock hereabouts is expanding. Not only is Ms Rosie due to kid in about 8 weeks but thanks to my enabler/ pusher [ that would be you, Maz my friend ] I am now the proud owner of another fluffy sheep tape measure, with another on the way. You DO know what this means, don't you?

I have two goats with the fairly certain prospect of a third /fourth.

I have three sheep [ albeit tape measures ] with the prospect of a fourth. Not to mention these other ovine articles:

Oh... dear.

Three of anything constitutes a collection.
My collections are breeding sub-collections

Now last but very definitely not least, the next post will be my 200th and my first Blogiversary is in 3 weeks so of course there will be a little contest to celebrate both of these momentous events. The prizes will depend on whether the winner[s] are knitters or quilters. I'll give you details in the next post and it will run until August 4.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Sunday night

This is the piece I've been working on this week. It's to be part of the Maryborough project and is loosely meant to represent the exposed rocks in the goat paddock. There are seams, fissures, and fractures ... veins of 'leader' crystals appearing and disappearing.
The bare bones of an ancient landscape.
Erica and I talked a while ago about doing pieces based on our photos of stones, so this is piece #1. I have a couple of ideas about how I'm going to quilt it but I'll worry about that another day.

ETA: Well I managed to find the rock photos that have been hiding in with a bunch of photos of the furry grandpuppies of all things... so here you go: THIS is what it looks like out the back of my house.

This is what I'm doing with the silk paper I made when my friend Felicity came up to play. I'm thinking that I'll probably use spray adhesive to mount it on a nice rag paper and then have it framed with a plain ,thin black. What colour mount do you think?

I was planning to show you other stuff from this weekend with Chris and Maz up here but I'm really having trouble concentrating and articulating properly and I'm not in the mood to be funny and/or clever. The youngest grandkitten is facing surgery tomorrow for possible pancreatitus or bowel involvement and I'm worried about her. She stopped eating at some point during the two weeks I was kittensitting but I'm not sure exactly when, what with 4 cats sharing the same food bowl. Then she started vomiting bile but I thought it was just a hairball. She's always the quietest and most secretive of the bunch so I really didn't notice that she wasn't eating or drinking AT ALL [ and yes, I feel just rotten about that ] Nadie and Chris came up on Tuesday to collect them and noticed at once that she'd lost weight. At that stage she was still glossy coated, bright eyed and alert but has gone down hill rapidly in the last three days. Anyway she's been to the vets three times, had shots, antibiotics, blood and urine tests and is in overnight on a drip at the moment.

If you're so inclined, please think positive thoughts for little Suki tomorrow. She was a rescue puddy from the RSPCA along with her mum and they had not been well treated, but she is much loved now and we don't want to lose her.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

I pinched Caity's idea

My friend Caitycat posted this morning at precisely 7.07am which made it seven minutes past seven on the seventh of the seventh '07 or ... I was asleep [ish] at that point so now I'm pinching her idea and doing the same at seven past seven PM. Not quite as good but the best I could manage.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Cat TV

If you haven't already read Chris' post about the DVD that she bought for Chaos and Mayhem then go and do it now.

I'll wait.

Okay, you're back? Well obviously, you're back or you wouldn't be reading this.

Anyhoo, Ms Sophie and Oakley would like to show you their own personal private TV: