Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Goat Watch Central

Yes people, another caprine delivery is immanent. PND and Brenda's nanny was due between Sunday and yesterday but still hasn't produced the goods although I'll be really surprised if she goes past tonight. She looks like a beached whale and a bloody uncomfortable beached whale at that. Any comparisons to mature African elephants would also probably not be far off the mark either.
All day today I've walked the 100 metres or so up the block and back armed with the camera 'just in case' - getting my exercise in the process, as well as widening the already existing track worn between the two properties -but she was a good girl and waited for her mummy to get home from work. Brenda has just driven past so maybe now she'll get a move on.
These soon-to-be kids have the same sire as Ruby and Rowan but will have more Anglo Nubian in the mix as their mum is a cross breed.... and before anyone asks, no I bloody well did NOT knit them booties or make them a quilt...
In the non- goaty news department, I went ahead and cast on for another pair of Bluebell booties in 8 ply [ sport or DK ] on 3.75mm needles.
18 stitches instead of 25, 4 sets of increases and decreases instead of 5, 8 stitches cast off /on instead of 10 and fewer stripe repeats across. Verdict - spiffy!
The yarn is courtesy of the stash and they do look pretty. There are three babies coming soon [ in fact my cousin Katharine is due tomorrow ] so someone will get 'em. There's bound to be a least one girl in the bunch.
and to finish up - a totally gratuitous pic of my girls enjoying a post-prandial dustbath.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Bluebell Bootees

EDIT : my friend Jejeune has turned this pattern into a PDF which you will find here

I LOVE the people at Patons Australia.
I started these little bootees yesterday [ and just finished them ] from a vintage Patons book from the late 70s - 20 beautiful Booties C24.
Earlier this arvo I emailed them to ask if I could share the pattern with you - it being out of print and all - and they've already replied very sweetly in the affirmative. As with so many patterns of the era, it didn't have a name, just a number, so I'm calling it Bluebell Bootees after the yarn it was designed for. Having said that though, I used Jasmin, which was another Patons yarn of similar gauge from that period.
NOTE: the original pattern has the ridges in a contrast colour but I'm giving you directions for a single colour as per the sample. Of course, if you like sewing in ends, by all means do the garter stitch ridges in a contrast. It will look fabulous but I'm too lazy.


Bluebell bootees
yarn: Patons Bluebell - less than one ball
length: 4 1/4"
needles: 3.00mm / US size 2.5 or 3
tension - 14 1/2 stitches to 2" over stockinette
abbreviation - "inc" knit twice into same stitch

Using 3mm needles cast on 25 stitches
row 1: "inc" knit to end
row 2: knit
rep. row 1 & 2 4 times [ 30 stitches]
work 19 rows garter stitch
shape front as follows-
row 1: [ wrong side ] cast off 10 sts, patt to end
row 2: knit
row 3: K1, purl to last st, K1
row 4,5 & 6: knit
rep rows 3-6 incl 3 times and then rows 3-5 once
keeping continuity of pattern, shape toe as follows -
row 1 K2tog, pattern to end
row 2: pattern to end
repeat last 2 rows 4 times [ 15 stitches ]
row11: pattern to end
row 12: K1 purl to last stitch," inc"
row 13 knit
repeat rows 12 and 13, 3 times and then row 12 once [ 20 stitches]
row 21 , 22 & 23: knit
row 24: K1, purl to last st, K1
Repeat rows 21 to 24 incl 3 times, then rows 21 - 23 incl once
next row - cast on 10 sts, purl across work to last st, K1 [ 30 stitches ]
Complete other side of back of bootee, working dec. on heel to correspond with other side.

Making up :
gather around edge of striped section, pull firmly, fasten off. Using a flat seam, sew up sole and back seam.

The original pattern has a 3/4" pom-pon attached to cover the gathered section.
When I have more time and energy I'll write out some full directions to replace that "work to correspond to other side" which is how most patterns used to be written.

Anyway now that I understand the basic shaping , I'm going to cast on for a pair in 8-ply/sport and slightly bigger needles and have a play with the numbers so that it still comes out no bigger than this - in fact I'd like it a wee bit smaller... newborn size
ETA the result is here
but you'll need to scroll past the goaty stuff.

Free Pattern: Crochet Scarflet

I made this early last year and always meant to share the pattern but somehow didn't get around to it. More than once I've had to scrawl an approximation of the pattern for someone at a meeting or even in a coffee shop, so now I can just point 'em here. It's quite versatile and can be worn as a little capelet or twirled and it becomes a scarf.

this pattern uses British/Australian terminology - for my American friends, tr = your dc, and dc = your sc

Yarn: Spotlight Basics Acrylic 8-ply [ yes ACKrylic. I bow my head in shame but it was an experiment . What can I say?]
any 8 ply/DK/sport weight yarn will do - 100 grams/ 300 metres
hook: 4.5mm
gauge: approximately 14 stitches and 9 rows to 4" over treble

117 chain
row1 - tr in 4th ch from hook, tr to end
row2 - 3 ch, 1 tr in each st to end
row3 - as row 2
row4 - 3 ch,* tr in next 2 stitches, 2tr in next st,* repeat to end of row
rows 5, 6 & 7 - as row 2
row8 - as row 4
row 9 & 10 - as row 2
row 11 - as row 4
row 12 & 13 - as row 2
row 14 - as row 4
row 15 - as row 2
row 16 -edging -* ch 4, miss 3 of these ch, 2 tr in last ch,miss 3 tr, 1 dc in next tr* repeat to end.
I ended off here but you can continue the edging all the way around if you have enough yarn.

As always this is for personal or charity use only. Please don't sell or teach without permission.
Knew you'd do the right thing. Thankyou :]

Sunday, October 28, 2007


and foreshortened because I was standing on the table :]
started august 28th, finished about half an hour ago
...we will not speak of the insanity that prompted me to take off the entire wavy outer border yesterday and to reattach it.
I think there will be a period of mindless Christmas stuff now

Thursday, October 25, 2007


Last Saturday I was allowed off the leash for a few hours to go to the Goldfield's Quilters Quilt-In [ which I'll post about another day ]
Anyway, as I wended my way thitherwards, I passed a number of Garage Sales [Yard Sales] with only mild pangs of regret for potential missed opportunities.
THEN I saw the sign for a MONSTER garage sale at the local Historical Society and that was when I weakened.
One coffee mug later [ surprise - Christmas themed with a cat ] I was about to leave when I spied a shabby little relic slung over the verandah railing. Walking over as casually as I could, I picked it up and discovered that it was a crazy patchwork something-or-other in fairly parlous state, shredded in places and threadbare in others, but still gorgeous.
Keeping the visible excitement to a minimum I asked after the price and was told $1 with that upward rising inflection that tells you the seller is worried that they're asking too much. Well, 'casual' flew out the window. You have never seen a purse open so quickly. DONE.
When I showed it at the GTG it was obvious most of them would've done the same although a few clearly thought that I'd lost my marbles.
Now as to what it is ... there are two pockets on the inside almost like a book jacket, but it's too highly padded for that, so I think probably a nightie sachet for keeping one's pegnoir pristine.

Would it be criminal to cut it up? it really IS falling apart and I can kinda see it as the robe for a Victorian Saint Nick.

and while we're on the subject of gorgeous textile treasures we have this :
what's this??
Oh this is an Indian made, celtic design cotton sheet/bedspread bought for me in Edinburgh, Scotland by Ms Beryl J.
It may well just get bordered and quilted. Gorgeous, n'est-ce pas?

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

meet the new neigh-bours

Just before 5 o'clock this arvo, PND's Brenda telephoned me to come over, so of course I thought that it was because Ruby and Rowan's half-siblings [ due this week ] had arrived... but no... there was mummy goat clearly still enceinte.
Obviously though something was up. Brenda had a grin from ear to ear and a conspiratorial gleam in her eye.
and then I spotted these two
all together now ...awwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww
no names yet so suggestions might be welcome

ETA Yes I guess it's a bit hard to suggest names if you don't know the sexes - the big one is a mare and the little one with the mohawk is a colt. Apparently the people were selling 40 of them - marriage break up and the hubby was refusing to feed them. Common tale around here I'm afraid... and no I'm NOT getting a horse. It's expensive enough feeding four goats, three cats, two ducks and a partridge in a pear tree. I'll just visit these.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

... but mu-um, the other kids will laugh at me

I remember when I was young ... I always had the 'wrong' clothes or the 'wrong' hair. I have vivid memories of being the butt of some fairly malicious teasing. Some of the scars are still visible if you care to look closely. Well not really, because they're emotional scars, but you get the drift, right? Not one of the cool kids ... not then and not now.
So you'd think I'd be more than usually sensitive to the ramifications of making a family member look ridiculous and then spreading it all over the internet, wouldn't you?
I am an evil woman
in my own defense, I really didn't have a lot of choice.
Robbyn gave Rowan a bit of a bad tempered nip on the tip of the ear a few days ago. Nothing really. I wouldn't have noticed anything amiss if I hadn't heard the squeal.
this morning the ear was hot and thickened up so I had to lance it... yuck [ she hates me ] and break out the spray-on antibacterial stuff [ she hates me ]
Should I offer to spray the other ear as well to make it look even???

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Do a mother a favour okay?

It's my darling daughter's 100th post. Do me a favour and slide over there. Then leave a comment.
Pretty please.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

I can haz prezentz

Yes, I freely admit it
I'm a spoiled brat
I am now the proud owner of this cute little vintage Japanese basket with shibori-dyed silk top section
2 metres of equally vintage Japanese shibori silk, presumably culled from a disassembled kimono because the tacking threads are still in there in places
each one of those tiny white shapes was made by hand tieing a knot around the silk before it was dyed ... a monumental amount of labour. Can you see the slightly crinkled texture? The silk has retained the memory of the shape it was tied into and has never been ironed flat.
I don't know what I'm going to do with it but for a start, I'll:
  • admire it
  • revere the work that went into it
  • feel grateful that I have wonderful friends like Zoe and Andy from Purl's Palace who saw these and thought of me, when they could've just as easily put them in the shop.
  • and to answer Lisette's question - the little shibori squares are 4 to the inch, so 1/4" including the little gap between, and even smaller on the bag which is possibly why they aren't as regular. There's a special tool used for getting a grip on such minute pieces of cloth... a very fine needle with the tip bent into a hook and the whole thing attached to a clamp. That's why there's a dot in the centre of each square - that's the bit that was snagged on the tiny hook. Unfortunately I've only ever got to use one once and have never seen one for sale here.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Finally! she cried

Nadie has finally given up on the idea of loading video of the goatlets direct to Blogger and has gone over to the dark side.
The video that she shot when they were two weeks old and investigating the world outside the goat shed for the very first time, is here

October is a strange month weather-wise up here. Spring certainly, but last week we had three days of heavy frosts that decimated a fair bit of new growth, particularly some of the [ sob ] roses. The night before last it got down to 3 degreesC / 38F and then during the day it reached 29.6C / 85F... I started the day in a heavy jacket and ended it in a t-shirt and mildly sunburned !

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Ducks and frogmouths and goats. Oh my!

I've been awake and up since just before 6am after getting to bed just on the downside of midnight ... and I'm not complaining. Not by a long shot. Not this little black duck!
You see, I've been a dreadful sleeper all my life. I couldn't tell you the number of nights spent tossing and turning trying to drop off. The countless times I've watched the same DVD through closed eyelids three times, drifting in and out. Never quite getting into deep enough sleep to actually ever wake up feeling rested.
The nights where I've just given up, snapped on the light, and read a whole novel between midnight and dawn.
Not any more
instead of torturing myself, I can just get up, make a cuppa, heat a bottle and go commune with the goaty girls.

This morning, after all that was taken care of, seeing it was already full light, I went for a bit of a wander up the top of the hill to try and track down the Tawny Frogmouth I've been hearing but couldn't quite zero in on it.
Very strange birds, Frogmouths.
They have this strange, almost subsonic, booming cry that you feel as much as hear, usually at dawn or dusk; an 'Oom-oom' that resonates behind the sinuses, and I find it really hard to tell exactly where it's coming from. Of course when I DO get close, the little beggars shut up, and do their impersonation of a dead branch. They're largely nocturnal to boot, so not easy to find. In fact pretty much the only way you'll see one is if you are actually looking straight at it as it starts to morph into a dead stick. Here's one I prepared earlier or rather two - there's a baby tucked in under Dad's breast feathers and if you click for large , you may be able to make him/her out: sorry about the fuzziness but it was
a] two summers ago with the old camera and
b] on about x7 zoom

Anyway, after my typically fruitless frogmouth foray, I collected some wood for the fire, talked to the goats some more, and offered some bread to the ducks from the other day who are still hanging around. They're not silly. Free food. A nice big dam for paddling in. Maybe they'll stay. In any case, after consultation with the local poultry guru Graham, who was here yesterday, I've tentatively named 'em Fred and George. It'd be better if George was Georgia, but Graham says no. He thinks they're both boys. Very BIG, very handsome boys with a glorious teal sheen that the photos haven't captured.

and in a lame attempt at a segue, we have yet another photo that I have to make excuses for:

the current knitting: a lace scarf for my aunt in beautiful italian angora [ Louisa Harding Kimono Angora Pure ]
You may remember that this is the aunt who turned 80 a couple of weeks ago, right? I'd bought her a largish rhododendron because she's very fond of her garden and has beautiful azaleas but then with David getting crook, we didn't make it down to Melbourne for THE PARTY. Large plants in pots aren't exactly the easiest thing to post, and Other Aunt suggested that Fay would probably prefer something I've made myself
of course she would ... and the fact that I now have a rhodie that will not survive up here is irrelevant ...
deep breath
of course I can whip up something nice
deep breath
in all that free time I have at the moment
deep breath
I figure a nice, 'totally out of season seeing we're heading into summer' scarf won't take too long and the angora will still make it a special gift... right??? [ even though said aunt won't have a clue that I paid nearly $14 a ball for it ]
I'm using my Garter Lace Mittens pattern, [ free in the sidebar to the right ] because it looks good but I can do it with my brain in [almost] neutral.
cast on 38 stitches
5mm needles
and it's actually much more open and lacy than the photo appears and a very dark charcoal.

It's 9am.
David's still in bed. I'm still in the jammies with a jacket over the top because I'm about to go feed Ruby again. Talk to you soon :]

Friday, October 12, 2007

I forgot

The words 'rockin' and 'girl' are not ones that I usually associate with my middle aged self so you'll kinda have to forgive me if, in the general excitement of being nominated for the Rockin' Girl Blogger thingy, I forgot to nominate anyone else. I think I'm supposed to nominate four, or is it five? Three? Whatever! It's a whole bunch anyway.
Of course this one's been kicking around for a while so some of these girls have been nominated already but who cares?
Nadie of course, because I'm her mum and biased but she's also very witty and deserves to have more people visiting her blog
MadMad for always making me laugh
Mia for being the only other blogger I know who knits, quilts and clogs. Now if I can just get her bellydancing...
Bells just because
Ms Vicki Frou Frou for general being fabulous
Tanya for frequently writing the stuff I wish I'd said

now I think you girls are supposed to nominate a whole bunch of people if you haven't already ... or not ... whatever seems best to you :]
The rest of you should wander over and visit
and here's a gratuitous cute kid to be going on with
and this morning's visitors - anyone know what kind of duck these are ?
and that rose at the top of the post? No reason. I just think it's gorgeous.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007


What can I tell you?
Three day tossing-up-the-toes migraine again. I'm still a bit queezy but I've actually managed to keep a bowl of porridge down this arvo and a couple of dry biscuits this morning [ crackers for the non-aussies ]
I even had to cancel a class yesterday and that just NEVER happens. I've taught through a gazillion migraines, the flu, broken bones even, but I couldn't even manage to stay upright without heaving so teaching was definitely out. Likewise dance class last night and this morning AND I didn't get to patchwork today either. Rats.

Goaty news:
I weighed the girls and they've tripled their birth weight in four weeks. Rowan hits the scales at 13 kgs and Ruby at just under 12. Because we've just had two weeks of school holidays, the girls have had many little visitors. This is my friend Zoe with young Miles, who most definitely did NOT want to go home.

Not so much, but like just about everyone in Knitblogdom I've made a couple of pairs of Saartje's bootees. These won't be the last. It's such a cute pattern and so easy once you get used to the rather idiosyncratic way it's written.
My friend Donna [ Coffee Bean Donna ] has had her twins six or so weeks early, so the stuff I made for them is a bit too big at the moment [ and not sewn up yet ] but I had a bunch of prem stuff ready to go down to the NICU at The Royal Womens' which is where Donna had the bubs so I sent it down with her sister and instructions for her to keep whatever fitted and then donate the rest. Hamish and Angus are breathing on their own and weigh a bit over a kilo each [ 3 lbs ]

Still chuffing along on the Maze quilt. Needless to say buggerall got done the last three days.

Gorgeous spring days with temps around the 20C mark [low 70sF] but the nights? Ni-ii-ppy.

and to finish off, here's this week's gratuitous cat photo: Ms C and Oakley in reasonably peaceful proximity - and we won't mention the piece that Sophie took out of C soon after.
ETA You need to go over to Nadie's Blog to check out the super cute baby wallaby photos

Saturday, October 06, 2007

just an ordinary saturday in the bush

Beautiful spring day. White iris finally blooming after two years.

Another finished BSJ

A nice cup of chai

Some new mags to drool over [ and you better believe that the Norah Gaughan jacket on the cover of Interweave Knits went straight to the top of my to-do queue for next winter]

Miss C happily canoodling with Threebie -

Goaty gamboling

what more could a Catsmum want?

Well I can tell you what she didn't particularly want ...

which was to find this in the middle of the kitchen floor. Even if it IS only an inch long ... it's just the IDEA of scorpions.
I'd swept it up without registering what it was and then noticed it sitting in the pile of general kitchen floor detritus. I must've stunned it with the vigour of my cleaning because it looked distinctly limp, immobile and generally dead at that point. Of course, as any diligent blogger would, I fetched the camera to show you the 'deceased' beastie ... who promptly twitched and got hastily relocated outside.
WAY outside.
WAY WAY outside

Next time I start rhapsodising about the joys of life in the big grey-green, you have my permission to remind me about today.

and as Nadie has just let me know via the comments, the photos have disappeared again. This is getting tired.
SO: Uploading.