Saturday, April 28, 2007

I want to join the Circus

When I was little I dearly wanted to learn gymnastics. Money was tight to put it mildly and I was already taking ballet classes so this was one desire that remained unfulfilled [ along with learning the clarinet but that's a whole 'nother story ].

Undeterred I spent hours doing handstands, the splits, cartwheels and hanging by my knees from the trapeze. I could stand balanced on one leg with the other foot somewhere behind my right ear. I perfected spinning around the monkey bars. Very nearly gave my grade 6 teacher Mrs Thompson, a heart attack by doing a backflip dismount from the very top bar too :]

So I had a ball yesterday when Nadie and I went as per mother-and-daughter-girls-only tradition to see the current incarnation of Cirque du Soleil under La Grande Chapiteau.

Varekai is literally and metaphorically brilliant. It sparkles. It dazzles.

The 'story' was ... as always ... totally incomprehensible and even after shelling out $19 for the program we were none the wiser. I found it later on the official website so if you are interested you can check it out here
The net-work by "Icarus" was absolutely poignant and lyrically beautiful. In a way it was a shame that it was right at the start. None of the flashy pyrotechnics later came close to the achingly beautiful simplicity of this
one act.
I wonder... do you think they could use a middle aged arthritic Grandmother who can still do the splits?
Oh and just by the way, if you are thinking of taking a babe in arms to the performance ... DON'T. It's loud and bright and a complete overloading of the senses. Unhappy wailing babes are intrusive. Parents who ignore said unhappy babes and continue to sit through the performance despite the affect on both the child and everyone within earshot should be ashamed of themselves.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Big Tree

When this Red River Gum was a wee seedling, William the Conqueror was saying to his mates " Do any of you boys fancy a boat trip to Britain ?"

and in a stunning display of originality this mammoth example of local flora is known officially as The Big Tree. [ Nadie included for scale ]

Two roads were rerouted around the tree in the 90s when it was discovered that the roots were being compressed. and they moved the power lines rather than prune the branches. Now THAT'S having your priorities right!
today I've been:
[re] reading Raisins and Almonds by Kerrie Greenwood for the fourth time
  • also Knit 2 together by Tracy Ullman and Mel Clark. A good knitterly read, amusing, with good patterns including THE perfect shrug. I wish though that the wool requirements had those little ball of wool symbols that the American Yarn Council is so fond of, or a general discription, not just a brand name I've never heard of. Not everyone lives in America. Not everyone orders expensive brand name yarns over the internet.
  • back to working on the never ending baby shawl

  • tried out the swift that Maz and Chris lent me on Sunday to make a hank of some lovely BWM wool/alpaca blend 12 ply [ worsted ] and then dyed it in a mixture of burgundy and brown. The brown just nicely toned down the burgundy to a more subtle shade.

  • stencilled japanese fans in copper on black cotton for a future japanes silk table runner

  • disassembled a whole bunch of vintage silk kimono pieces... some of the linings had wonderful little hand sewn mends and patches so these were carefully put aside. The little leftover shreds and strings were bagged up ... just too precious to discard. I need help.

Monday, April 23, 2007

mag news

Here in Oz the major craft chain store in the mould of Joanne's or A.C.Moore is Spotlight. The nearest one to me is in Bendigo and yes, I do shop there. Regularly. Maybe not so much for quilt fabrics but for yarn and general crafting supplies and manchester? You betcha.

In the last couple of years they've even moved into publishing a craft magazine, albeit very much at the mass-appeal end of the market.

I've never had any contact with them professionally, so imagine my surprise before xmas when I received phone call and an email asking for an interview and permission to use photos of my sashiko pieces. They weren't asking me to contribute a project which is usually the case, but okay.

Yeah, fine, whatever [ that's me being blase there in case you hadn't worked that out. Is the self-deprecating humour working yet? ]

You never know with a profile article, especially one where the 'interview' has been conducted over the phone. There have been good ones in the past and there have been some completely cringeworthy horrors [ and I still think the absolute best was the one that appeared in the Down Under Quilts 2005 Yearbook ... thanks Erica ]

Anyway, the issue in question has lobbed into the post office box and guess what? It's one of the good ones. One small mistake where the writer perhaps misheard me and batting has become backing, [ which may cause minor confusion ] and some gentle rewordings of what I actually said, but overall NOT TOO DAMN BAD AT ALL. They DO make it sound as though sashiko is the only thing I teach but I can live with that.
For the record though, my most requested class is the designing with japanese fabrics one.
This is the first issue that is going to be released in the States so that's reasonably exciting, n'est-ce pas? [ again with the blase? Why can't I just say it's nice to be given some recognition and be done with it? ]

I think the production values / layout etc are really attractive and the photo of me that The Boy's father took came out pretty damn well.
So that's the news for today.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

move along, move along

This is one of those posts that are probably best left to friends and family. The rest of you just move along until tomorrow [ or go back and read yesterday's post about whatever it was about ] because today we all converged on the Anglican Church [ Episcopalian for my American friends ] in Berwick to celebrate Riley's Christening.
The church was quite simple and modern but incorporated stained glass from an older version which didn't look at all out of place. The ceremony was short, unflowery and very, very different from what the italian part of the family were used to, although they seemed to approve [ and if they didn't? well...meh! ]
Anyway, the minister was at some pains to point out that we were welcoming Riley into the christian faith, not specifically the anglican one, and that he would get to make up his own mind in the fullness of time.

I was going to write that he can be a calathumpian as far as I'm concerned, and then realised that I don't actually know what a calathumpian IS. It's just something my father used to say. So I've looked it up and apparently it is " used in a non-judgmental way to describe one's religion or philosophy when it is original, personally assembled, and not institutionalised" which sounds okay to me.

My brother-in-law was a little confused when we recited the Apostles' Creed and it said " I believe in the holy catholic Church." I pointed the small 'c' out to him and explained the difference between "One holy, catholic and apostolic church" and Roman Catholicism.
Comparative religion has never been BIL's strong suite.
Anyway, our little man smiled and blew rasberries all through the proceedings and then between one smile and the next, went to sleep. No whinges, no grizzles, just out like a light. That kid is so laid back he's horizontal.
Nice party afterwards and then the 2 hr drive home.
and I'm wondering how long Stephen has been wearing glasses? I noticed them at Easter but forgot to ask. Am I the only one getting a hint of Elvis Costello in this particular photo?

Saturday, April 21, 2007

of black cats, saturday sky and precipitation

Nadie didn't really set out to collect black cat statues.

In fact nothing was probably further from her mind but she did rather like the pair that Marc bought me in Bairnesdale so I gave them to her when I moved ...

except that I dropped one on the way out to the car and it didn't survive the experience.

Because I felt a bit guilty everytime I saw that lone puddy, I was really happy to find a larger version of the same cat in an antique shop in Kyneton a month or so ago and even happier still when I discovered that it faced the same way as the one I'd murdered.

Then I rediscovered a different black cat figurine lurking in the shed so that went off to join the other two... and you know The Rule.

You DON'T know The Rule?

Okay. Well, it has long been a stated rule Chez Catsmum, and by extension, at Maison Nadie, that if you have three of something , it's officially a collection and you are therefore at liberty to add to it. In fact, you are pretty much obligated.

So of course THIS had to come home with me from the Op Shop...

...and Nadie?

If you don't like it, that's okay cos Sophie doesn't seem to mind it.

and just by the way it's the weekend and IT'S RAINING. Here's Saturday Sky and just to round out the post, a picture of the finger I tried to amputate a week ago. Doesn't look like much does it?...until you consider that it was the point of a rather broad carving knife that went straight in, and the visible length of the cut in no way corresponds to the depth. Today is the first sign that it has knit together and I am just SOOOO glad to be able to get rid of the bandage. Bloody thing kept catching on everything. There seems to be some nerve damage judging from the weird numb-and-tingly-at-the-same-time feeling but only time will tell with that.

It's actually been interesting in a way. Pretty much no one said anything and I was perhaps a wee bit ... no, not miffed ... not put out exactly ... more surprised. Yes, that's about the right word. Suprised, I guess, that no one commented. I mean, in the Blogosphere if you mention having a slight case of the sniffles you will normally be inundated with enquiries as to the on-going situation vis-a-vis your health, get well wishes, posts offering Aunt Ethel's cold cure and stories of everyone else's current health problems given just as a show of solidarity. Nadie said just a little while ago that I'd made such a passing reference to it that she figured it was just a scratch. NOW I understand the lack of reaction... and here is the conundrum. There's no one here to offer tea and sympathy and I want that sympathy as much as the next person being the needy little spot that I am [ except when I don't want it and of course I expect you all to have ESP and to know which reaction is appropriate, right?] BUT I don't want to worry the family. Except THEY are supposed to somehow divine that I want them to fuss.

Yeah I know ... perhaps I need to add that to the Weird Things list.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Is it the weekend yet?

Don't get me wrong. This has been a pretty damn good week... but why did the Fates decide that I needed to fit the whole month's activities into a quarter of the time usually allotted for such things?
If we start keeping score from last Saturday, then of course it all starts off with my fabulous femmes' weekend of fun and frivolity with Felicity [ Fabulous Femmes Fun Frivolity and Felicity ... am I sensing a pattern here? ]
As documented already, we spent the entire weekend in pursuit of all things textile: shibori dyeing, silk paper making, sun printing, followed by purusing and purchasing at Purl's Palace, Daylesford ably assisted by a slightly puzzled David. We didn't make it to The Big Tree at Guilford but I think that was about the only thing we missed.
Monday saw me jump in the car - no, scratch that last bit. Ever mindful of the broken coccyx and being the sedate person that I am [not], I actually SLID ever so carefully into the car - and dropped David off before driving to Girgarre to give a talk on my Japanese quilts. If you just thought "Where the hell is Girgarre?" rest assured that you are not alone. About 99.9% of the population of Victoria, let alone the rest of Australia, doesn't know either.
I surely didn't with any degree of certainty until I checked the map on Sunday night. Anyway basically it's a town of 200 odd people about 2 hours drive north east of here.
I wasn't entirely sure that there was going to be anyone there other than the ladies of the Girgarre Quilters and a couple of my friends from Bendigo that I knew were going up. I had visions of spending four hours in the car to address maybe a couple of dozen hardy souls, if I was lucky.
Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. Just brimming over with wrongability. [ sorry, channelling Arnold Rimmer there for a second ]
There was probably close to 200 women there from all over Northern Vic.
There was the usual hearty country morning tea which segued seamlessly into lunch and on into afternoon tea. There was endless Chantelle [ Central Victorian quilterese for Show-and-tell ]
and there was me
and my quilts.
This would have to be the first time I've ever been introduced at one of these things by someone quoting my Blogger Profile !

The drive home was remarkeable. Oooh look ... a dead and interestingly shaped gumtree... some dry grass... another dead tree... a sheep ... another sheep... another dead tree. No wonder I had a migraine brewing after 2 hours of that.

Home at about 5, hit the migraine meds and out again to clogging at Daylesford just after 6. Gotta love those modern pharmaceuticals.
To be brutally honest, Monday night's class was a total waste of time and effort. The regular teacher was AWOL in China, and the replacement couldn't have clogged or cued her way out of a paper bag if her life depended on it. I think I overstepped the bounds when it got so bad that all the beginners walked off the floor and I collared the headset mike and cued from the back row. Probably NOT a good way to make a new friend.
Add to that, she finished the class more than a half an hour early and was adamant that THAT was the correct finishing time. Excuse me ? We didn't get to do a single dance at our level which makes me wonder whether she was capable of it herself. GRRRRRRRRRRRR.

Anyway moving on:
Tuesday morning fine and early saw me repeat the wiggle into the car as I headed back ... Daylesford, scene of the previous night's non-class, for a daylong workshop teaching a patchwork cushion with vintage japanese fabrics and sashiko quilting. Two of the girls had never sewn a stitch in their lives but were keen to try. One was very very high maintenance in an exciteable ADHD but likeable way and I was just about hyperventilating by the end of it but it WAS a good day. Once again Pat had driven up all the way from Apollo Bay for the occasion. God, she's keen.

On the way back out of town I negotiated the purchase of the gorgeous Sandolls from yesterday's post [ no Maz, I'm not taking up irish dancing. They're street shoes ]
Stayed on for tea at Robyn's after arriving to collect Dave [ spag bol ... yummo ] and straggled home in time to pop him into bed.
Rest of evening spent playing around with THIS.
Yesterday was the not-allowed-to-be-talked-about Arts Access Project over at Maryborough [ about 60 km each way ] Good session. Shame I can't tell you about it yet.
and today was spent moving the deck chairs on the Titanic [ Nola-speak for attempting to restore order to one's abode ] and a lunch meeting for yet ANOTHER project that I'm somewhat unwillingly involved in. Tonight I'm working on Riley's quilt.
Is it the weekend yet?

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Sunday, April 15, 2007

things I learnt this weekend

Do you remember those essays you had to write at the start of the school year. "What I did this summer."

because this is going to be a bit like that.

This is "What I learned this weekend"

  • It is very easy to tell when one's goaty girls are in season. Particularly if there's a studly younger man recently moved in next door.

There is much bawling of goaty love songs and wagging of the tail and refusal to move more than five feet away from the point in closest proximity to the object of lustful caprine affections.

We went through all this 6 weeks ago and 3 weeks ago and ... yup... doesn't take a genius to figure out that we were in for another noisy weekend.

So basically after another 2 days of this performance and calling her a tart at regular intervals, I caved. I figured nothing could be more annoying than the racket she was making. This may have been a major error of judgement on my part.

There was a brief flurry of matchmaking activity and then Brenda from next door led the boy across to my place. Contrary to a previous suggestion, I did NOT make a wedding quilt for Rosie's deflowering. This was strictly a one night stand.

I now know why they didn't suggest Rosie having a vacation Chez Pete.

Billys with a nubile nanny in the vicinity are particularly smelly

and possessing of enormous stamina

and a vocal range that would do a ullulating bedouin proud

and the goat paddock is directly behind my house.

So Felicity, David and I are now in possession of altogether too intimate a knowledge of things of a goatly reproductive nature.

Have you ever heard the Goon Show? Think of Mr Crun in pursuit of Min.

Other things I learned this weekend:

  • I learned that goats can feel the pangs of jealousy. Ms. Evelyn, a mature goatly lady - and my Robbyn's mama - who lives next door, didn't want to have anything to do with the studly Blackadder until Ms Rosie got him. Once she saw him sashaying over to my place, that all changed. She suddenly realised what a hunk he is. We woke up this morning to find we had an extra doe. Not too bad for an elderly lady. She'd jumped three fences to get to him! Here she is looking a bit Sheepish [!!] at being caught.

  • Felicity could operate a goat telephone sex line ... her impression of Blackadder in the throes of passion is uncanny.
  • That Chris is WRONG in his claim that you never cut yourself with a properly sharpened knife. Big sharp carving knife means big hole in finger that probably [ nay definitely ] should've been stitched... but I managed not to bleed in the risotto. One point for style. Minus several thousand for clumsiness.

  • see #2 above... Felicity is very good in any situation involving blood and bandaids.
  • Felicity made a new friend

  • despite the injured digit, I also discovered today that:
  • making silk paper is great fun [ Felicity's is the green and mine therefore is the bluey purple ]

Felicity already knew that, but SHE discovered that shibori is ALSO great fun and so is sunprinting.

It was also pretty spiffy to discover that Felicity shares my opinion of Purl's Palace at Daylesford.

Damage to the plastic? One bag of vintage kimono silks each

one small baggy each of silk tops for more paper making

a pair of Brittanys for felicity


The Twisted Sister's Sock Book for moi.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

FOs and late breaking news

Wool smells wonderful. Acrylic, if it has a smell at all, smells of oils and plasticisers and god knows what else. Wool feels wonderful as it glides over the fingers and needles [ so long as it's not mohair but let's not get into that ], acrylic mostly feels a bit ... less nice... acrylic invariably goes all splitty, and then there's the whole hacking-and-coughing-as-I ingest-little acrylic-fibres-and-startle-the-cats thing.
SO can someone please explain to me why my frugal side feels compelled to use at least some of that huge tub of ACKrylic that lives in the same cupboard as all the nice wooly stuff?
Way down at the bottom of the cupboard
under a shelf
but I know it's there.
Granted that I've given some of it to David's Day Placement for the craft program, but why can't I just let it lie there and age? Why spend my limited and precious time on this ... oh words fail me...
I'll tell you why:
Because it will lie there and taunt me with it's plasticness, and remind me that I spent perfectly good money on it....that's why!

Anywayin the continuing spirit of Knit From Your Stash 07, I give you:
the ACKrylic Ripplicious lap rug [ I guess americans would call it an afghan ] made from assorted stash 8ply [ sport ] on a 4mm hook. Stash used: 8 x 100 gram balls

and a cardi / hat combo , probably destined for charity donation.

The baby gear is also in ack-rylic
basic 8 ply [ sport] 1 x 100 gram ball
4mm needles straights and dpns
pattern: seamless yoked baby sweater by Carol Breseny . This is one of my favourite 'free on the net' top-down baby raglans. I can't link to it at the moment because the site is doing some housekeeping. Maybe later. Anyway the little hat is just one I made up last night on the fly to go with the cardi. I can always post the pattern if anyone wants it.

Thursday night Barbmac stayed over on her way up to Bendigo for the Scquilters Retreat. Much talking, many cups of tea, and some work on our respective WIPs.
Bonding with the livestock here and next door was also a major theme.
We had lunch at The Coffee Bean yesterday so that Barb could see Sylvia Reeves' and my quilts and we also tripped across to the Library so that she could rave over the wonderful F.O.C.A.L. quilt. After that I pointed her in the direction of Bendigo
and today David and I are heading into town in a couple of hours to meet up with Felicity who's staying for the weekend. She's bringing up her silk paper making stuff. I have the shiborii supplies. The new issue of Quilting Arts is sitting on the table.

We'll have our own little mini retreat.

In late breaking news, I have just this minute received an email from the generous Julie to say that I've won this in her Spring Cleaning contest. YAY

to quote her:

The final prize offering is a copy of the Yarn Harlot's "At Knit's End: Meditations for Women Who Knit Too Much," and a skein of Greenwood Fiberworks
cotton/lycra sock yarn in the Sunset colorway, PLUS a pattern for socks using this yarn.
WOO! and may I add HOO! or as Nadie would have it WOOT!

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

warning: baby photos ahead

just posting photos of my grandson for the rellies ... back to the fibrey goodness tomorrow

Riley David

at Nonna's for Easter and no one gave the poor deprived little sod any choccy egg [ not even his Nanny ] although I DID give him a big fluffy duck puppet that quacks three songs.
... and now, just because Raelene asked for it ... edited to add a photo of RD aka 'the peanut' with his Nanny ... the pained looking femme with the broken bum.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Castlemaine overun by prehistoric life forms


For the past week and a half, Victory Park, in the somnolent Central Victorian town of Castlemaine, appears to have been overun by giant prehistoric plants and insectoid life forms. It is quite possible that this is not entirely independent of the creation of a Gondewanan Erth Garden at the Castlemaine State Festival, however this fact has yet to be verified with any degree of certainty.

Contrary to expectations however, the general populace has not run screaming through the streets and it is entirely possible that these alien creatures possess some degree of mind control, such has been their hypnotic effect. It has been postulated that this may have been linked to the plaintive and eerie, vaguely electronic sounds which appeared to accompany the appearance of both plant and insect life forms.

In fact this twice daily invasion seems to have been actively welcomed by all and sundry [ with the possible exception of the Erth Gardener who was abducted by a giant red-backed spider. She survived this traumatic event and was subsequently rescued due to the prompt action of her fellow gardeners and the arachnid was later devoured by this monstrous carnivorous plant ]

Friday, April 06, 2007

found it!

We won't begin to go into why the lead for the camera was in my handbag, will we? The subject of my fibro-fogged memory will not be alluded to in any way, shape or form. Right?

Though, I must say, it is amazing how many of my friends are also in the FMS club ... Caitlin, Ms Vicki Frou Frou, Anjiibabe, Aunty Glen, Jappa ... wonderful, intelligent, creative, articulate women one and all ... I wonder whether the predisposition towards FMS is one of the prices of that creativity?? Uggghhh , what a horrid thought.
Moving on
Yesterday was set up for the Strathdale Quilter's Easter weekend Quilt Show [ St Andrew's Anglican Church Bendigo ] so after I drove my achey caboose roughly 50 km to drop off my quilts and to help as needed, there were so many people getting under each other's feet that I was told basically that I may as well go back home.
The pain in the proverbial chimed in around then and made it known that I had damn well better not just waste the trip ... so off course I headed for Bendigo Woollen Mills and the magic room out the back.
I would remind you at this point, gentle reader, that one of my personal rules for KFYS is that 'on sale in the back room at Bendigo doesn't count'
some of this haul was doubly legal under the 'spinning and/or dyeing supplies don't count" rule.
So what we have here are several wee baggies with an assortment of 5-ply crepe in red, burgundy, navy, pale blue and fawn [ which I'll overdye ] and of course I needed to buy all of them to make sure I had enough of each to actually DO something with them. Right? Total: 18 balls for $18

602 grams in total of beautiful jade also in the 5-ply for $21 [ that 2 grams is bound to be important ]

a bag of mixed 12 ply [ worsted ? ] again with the navy, purple, mid blue, red and some useful cream. Total $10

and then these are roughly 200 gram balls Three are 8-ply [DK] cotton marked down because of yellow marks which I frankly can't see and intend to dye over anyhoo and one is the 5-ply in pure wool. Average damage here about $4 each.
The weird thing is that Bendigo locals don't shop there. Most don't know where it is and yet my knitty friends from Melbourne and interstate tend to make semi annual pilgrimage when they visit me. Go figure!
Now THIS stuff is where I fell off the KFYS wagon. This stuff is totally illegal... or it should be :] My enabler, I mean Jeanette, and I went out to visit a whole bunch of Festival offerings last Monday including the Fibre-and-Clay exhibition that our friend Marcie has some stuff in. We both got ambushed by some of the fibrey goodies that were cohabiting with Marcie's quilts and when I saw this, I could see it in something quilty rather than knitty. Hey, does that mean it doesn't count as knit stash?