Sunday, September 30, 2007

A kid in the kitchen, EZ, and other stuff

Ruby says hello :]

Current reading - in the last week with David on holidays, and therefore less running around, I've finished the second book in the Dresden Files [ Fool Moon ] as well as book three and I'm now onto number four [ Summer Knight ] It's less than a year since I read these the first time but I'm enjoying the re-read.
Next cab off the rank, once I finish the Jim Butchers, will be one of Lisa See's ... probably Snow Flower and the Secret Fan.
Quilting - still making triangles for the vase quilt's border. I've decided to cut the purple inner border from 4" [ two triangles wide ] to 2". It looks much better. I tried the charcoal as the inner border [ just looked flat and dead ] and also played with placing a narrow charcoal one inside the purple... that didn't work either... the colours are just too close in tone.
Knitting - As soon as I started reading Knitblogs, I also started seeing references to EZ and BSJ. Huh??? What was this? Some secret code that only the cognoscenti understood? Well eventually I worked out that EZ was Elizabeth Zimmermann, an American based, British born knitwear guru that I had been marginally aware of in the last great knitting wave of the 70s and 80s. The mysterious BSJ is her fabulously clever Baby Surprise Jacket, which is a classic from the early 70s and probably the cleverest piece of knitting engineering on the planet. Now I understand. It takes a long time to type in Elizabeth Zimmermann Baby Surprise Jacket so I guess it's not a conspiracy to make the rest of us feel foolish after all, just a desire for brevity. [ yeah well there's probably a teensy bit of the 'wanting to be one of the cool kids who knows what's what' involved as well]
Anyhoo, thanks to some rare and handy enabling from Chris and Maz, I have my very own copies of two of Elizabeth Zimmermann's classics: The Knitter's Almanac and The Knitting Workshop [ which contains the aforementioned BSJ ]
What did it matter that I was about nine tenths finished on a baby top down raglan? Restraint? Pshaw! I scoff at restraint!
I scoured the stash, dived on a ball of lovely Opal Prisma that Nora gave me through GoodYarnKarma and cast on the BSJ on Thursday night. On Friday morning it looked like this:
Yesterday was mostly spent looking after David who was throwing up uncontrollably but I still managed some knitting in between the bouts of washing down the loo walls when he didn't quite make it in time. [ TMI ??]
anyway by the time I finished the last Ruby feeding and tidied up, it looked like this:
a couple of folds and presto chango:

the woman is a bona fide genius.
and I have to tell you something: whoever said that they're like potato chips wasn't kidding. You really can't stop at one. This morning I cast on for BSJ2. This time in an 8-ply / Sport [ Patons Zest ] that I just happen to have the right amount of in the stash.
I haven't sewn the first one up yet because it's Purl's Princesses on Tuesday and if I'm still knitting on number 2, I want to be able to show them how that strange looking object becomes a jacket.

and btw David is a lot better today although a bit pale and tired. The downer is that it means we had to miss my aunt's 80th berfday bash in Melbourne. I couldn't put him through two lots of two hours in the car, plus he couldn't have eaten anything at the Bistro with a dodgy tummy anyway. We don't get to gather the whole clan all that often. Bugger.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

because she asked so nicely [edited to add an extra photo ]

this is for tanya
who wanted to know what I had in mind for the corners. Just as well she didn't ask sooner though. I only drafted this bit yesterday.
There's a teeny triangle still to go across the corner in charcoal. The elongated diamond shape in the corner unit is pieced from the two darker jades from the maze section for just that reason - I had only the tiniest amount left of each and this was a way of repeating the colour.
Repetition - whether of shape or colour - is always a good design strategy.
There's still the possibility of using the purple as an outer border outside of the charcoal - which would also take care of the repetition angle - but I'm not sure.
... and I keep saying "the" charcoal but there are actually two of them in there. I was scrimping along with what I had, trying to make it go as far as I needed it too, when my friend Beverley donated some leftovers that are exactly the same shade but a marginally different splotchy print. You can tell them apart in the corner unit but in the small triangles they look the same.
ETA SO - none of you were all that enthused by the proposed corner treatment... which is fair enough. I'd rather have constructive criticism than uncritical adulation [ I think ... let me check with the ego for a sec ... yeah, we're good ]
Bearing in mind that a] I have a deadline with this and b] it DOES have to relate to the vase that was the basis of the original design in some way
c]there are very limited amounts of some of the fabrics left
how about something like this then?

Tuesday, September 25, 2007


In between the 'being crook' [ do my American friends understand that term ? - it's Aussie for being unwell ] and the multiple sets of overlapping house guests, there has still been quilt progress. Not as much as I would like, but progress nonetheless. Basically, whenever I have 5 spare minutes [ and provided that I actually think about it ] I wander down to that end of the house and sew a triangle or two or three. The triangles of the left hand side border is seamed together. The rest is still in units.

ETA: I'm not sure what happened but three of the photos that were attached to this post seem to have just disappeared into the ether. As two of them were the ones of the quilt, anyone who saw the post without them will be wondering what the heck I'm going on about a quilt for. They were there this morning, so I've got NO idea what happened. Anyway, I'm reinstating them. If you're reading this and there are suddenly two copies of some of the pics ? Well just let me know.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

cute kids - fly by posting

Yesterday was the first day that Rowan and Ruby were out of the goat shed in the wider world of the house paddock. Rosie kept a fairly close eye on them and had a few 'altercations' with Robbyn who got a bit aggressive with them to start with. After a few head butting contests, it's all sorted. Keep an eye on Nadie's Blog from about Monday. She has some very cute video of Ruby and Rowan exploring their expanded world.
My grandson Riley has had his first visit to Nannie's so not a lot of work got done. Big surprise there. So here is another cute kid:
It's taken Blogger over a day and umpty gazillion tries to let me upload this one photo.

Thursday, September 20, 2007


there has been a distinct lack of knitting content this past week or two I will admit ... soft snuggly little critters aplenty, a modicum of quilting but none of the yarny goodness.
So here's what I've been doing:
Seamless Yoked Baby Sweater [again]
3.5mm straights and dpns
Panda Baby Lustre 4-ply [ fingering] 2 balls- quite a bit thinner than the recommended yarn. The pattern was sized for 3-6 months and I wanted newborn. This yarn has a filament of something like shiny rayon very loosely wound around it - looks superb, splits like buggery, real pita to knit with. Interesting the way the yarn went into almost identical stripes on the sleeves. Not too keen on that patch of white that pooled just under the yoke on the right front but not enough to break the yarn and get rid of it. I may be obsessive but not THAT much.
I usually cast on an extra 4 stitches under the arms to make the sleeves just a little fuller and didn't do the decreases at the wrist. I put an extra repeat of the slip stitch pattern around the bottom.
Also I put the buttonholes closer together than the pattern called for. There are normally 22 rows and I did them every 16. Next time I'd probably go with 18.
reading: Bound Feet and Western Dress by Pang-Mei Natasha Chang
Fool Moon - Jim Butcher
Knitting : baby hat for donation
quilting : still making triangles for the Jonson Collection quilt now dubbed 'Amazeing' by my friend Nic.
health - still slowly getting better from last week's ep. Innards still a bit squirgly and tender.

Birthday report - David had a wonderful day and we had takeaway pizza for tea which only happens once a year.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Ruby times 2

There is a long and involved story about how I got Ms Rosie.

She was originally named Crystal and she and her twin were sold to a woman who was one of the ' goats will survive on grass' brigade. Not in a drought they won't.

Anyway, she basically starved them and eventually surrendered them back to the breeder rather than face an RSPCA charge of cruelty.

This is where I came in.

The breeder [ Rosie S ] works with my David at his day placement. I had already indicated my willingness to buy one of her next season's doe kids, so she asked me how I felt about rehabilitating one of the poor abused twins for a very very reduced purchase price after she'd spent two weeks feeding them up.
Of course I said yes, but no goat of mine was going to be named Crystal so she became Rosie.
That day when Rosie S opened the back of the ute, I looked at this frail little girl and just fell in love.
Later, when I met Rosie S's daughter, Ruby, I thought "How perfect is that? If my Rosie ever has a doe kid, I'm going to name it Ruby"

which patently obviously I have done :]

anyway today Rosie and Ruby came over to visit Ruby2. Do you think there's a resemblance?

It's been a tough couple of years for them: a retrovirus called CAE [ goat aids ] decimated half the herd, including my Rosie's mother, twin and niece, and then the drought pretty much took care of the rest. They only have 2 left out of a herd of 40 ... but for today at least they were happy girls.

Now just think. If they'd come over to visit yesterday, I could've titled the post Ruby Tuesday... or as RoseRed pointed out Ruby Shoesday

Shoesday is late this week

Because I promised Rose Red that I would, I give you [ albeit one day late ] my beautiful Sara Coles.
and now go look at Bells red wedding slippers

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Happy birthday to you ...

Happy Birthday to you
Happy Birthday dear DAVID
Happy Birthday toooooooooooooooooo

couldn't agree more

more chickens here

Sunday, September 16, 2007

bullet points and pics

Been a busy weekend and I'm probably still not back on form after the episode on Thursday night, so it's a bullet points post plus pics tonight I'm afraid:

  • This is why we are happy that the girls take more after Rosie than Blackadder. He's got a pedigree as long as your arm and the sweetest nature, but not exactly tops in the looks department. He does make pretty babies though :]

  • PND and Brenda are joking about hanging some of those helium filled baby balloons over his pen.

  • PNDs girlies. Mum in the middle is in kid to Blackadder as well, so Ruby and Rowan will have half sisters in about a month. The other two are her daughters from last year [different sire] All much shorter in the legs department than Rosie is and although the mummy is the same mix as my baby girls, she threw more to the anglo nubian. I suspect, from the length of leg they have now, that Ruby and Rowan will be taller.
  • this is my spiffy new cooking thermometer. Not that I'm going to cook with it. Nope. It's for getting the milk temps just right when I'm pasteurising and when I'm heating up the bottles for the babies.
  • Gotta love that macro button on the camera that lets you take photos in so close and so clearly - if you don't know whether or not your camera has one, there's probably a button or setting with a symbol that looks like a tulip.
  • Robyne-with-an-e and Paul came over from Daylesford this morning for a baby cuddle and to trim Rosie's toes. Robyne is one of my quilting and knitting friends. The shared love of goats is an added bonus. She bought Rosie a baby card [!] and fussed because she didn't have a shower gift. We had a lovely light lunch of soup and bread followed by yummy ginger and date cake from the Daylesford Market. Great big gobs of crystalised ginger and SO moist from the dates. Fabbo. Check out Robyne's gorgeous Noro Silk Garden cardi.
  • Rowan's ears don't seem to be the narrow Saanen ears after all. They seem to have uncurled a bit so that they're more like Ruby's - more the floppy, broad, anglo-nubian.
  • Val and The Man Who Cooks popped in yesterday also for baby snuggles but we forgot to get any photos.
  • Keep forgetting to tell you [ did you like my attempt at casual ? ] that my Licorice Allsorts quilt is in the current Down Under Quilts as a project. Normally this would be the source of great excitement but between the arrival of the babies and the health problems, it kinda skipped my attention. For which I really must apologize to Erica ... it's a brilliant issue IMHO and so was last month. All mags have some issues that are better than others but Erica consistently gets a good mix. The photo in the mag is of course much brighter and clearer - this was just one I took at our quilt show last year. The funny thing is that in the mag, isolated on the page without any visual cues as to size, the quilt looks so much smaller than the queen size it is. If I was just flipping through and saw it, without checking the written measurements, I'd probably visualise maybe a bit over a metre square.

the things you find on Crafster

I feel like a 'real' knitting designer person now.
A couple of weeks ago,the link for my free garter lace wrist warmers [ well both of them actually ] went up on Knitting Pattern Central. At that point my daily traffic went from 40 -70 to 400 -700 - woh! Just shows you how many people are after a freebie.
Anyway this morning I found a post on with photos of a finished pair done in metallic yarn so that they look like chainmail. Freaking awesome :]
I really should get off my bum and write up the patterns for the other pairs.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Kids on vid

Hey all,

Nadie here, hijacking mum's blog.

Just thought I'd let you know that I've uploaded videos of the goaty girls on my blog.


Nadie - 100% free of Harry Potter puns

Probably too much information [ and baby photos at the end ]

Remember last week when I was soooooooooooooo ill? The 'tossing up my toes, couldn't keep down a teaspoon of water for long enough to swallow a pill' type of ill?

Turns out it was a reaction to the new BP meds.

I have a sensitivity to sulphur based drugs [ Bactrim, Erythromycin, etc ] and it's on my file at the Doctor's but sometimes the system lets me down. Modern drugs have so many contra indication warnings that the surgery's computer will only kick up the most common. Turns out that the bit about sulphur and Naturalix didn't make it into the PC. Ooops. So sorry.

Yeah. Well thanks to that little goof, I not only had the three miserable days last weekend, I nearly ended up in hospital yesterday. Should've been if the truth be known.

I didn't restart the meds again until Thursday because there was that little nag at the back of my brain that was saying maybe last week's misery was more than just the migraine. The timing was suspicious. So anyway, I wasn't going to risk it whileI was still waiting for Rosie to produce the goods or even the first couple of days while I recovered from the last bout and the subsequent baby-induced sleepless nights.

So cue Thursday night.

David was being taken out for a birthday tea by his social group in advance of the actual day which is the 18th, so I headed over to have dinner with Robyn and Martin after feeding and milking.

Dinner was had, conversation enjoyed, and then I started feeling lousy. Not migraine and tummy like last week. This was the other end.

How to be the perfect dinner guest, huh?

Anyway long story shorter, it got a lot worse once I got home, and from midnight all I was producing was blood.

What I SHOULD'VE done, if I'd had any sense at all, was called an ambulance and just gone to A & E but when you're the sole carer for a severely autistic person who cannot be left in the house alone and who totally freaks in hospitals, and you're out in the middle of the bush, that's not really the easy option. If anything REALLY awful happened I suppose I'd call Robyn to hold the fort until Carer Support could organise something but I can be a wee bit stubborn [ what? No! ] and it was the middle of the freaking night and she lives 15 km away.

So another god-awful night of pain and no sleep, an early morning call to the surgery, a shot in the tail and something for the trots and I'm a whole new woman. One new thing I learned was that one of the side effects of dehydration is that the BP goes down for a while. Did you guys know that?

PND and Brenda came over and took care of the morning feed and milking and by mid day I was able to cope with the next feed. PND came over anyway just in case I needed a hand.

If you're still with me after all that, here's today's cute baby photos:

Ruby has invented a new variation on leap-frog

Rowan wants to thank you all for your concern and to show you that the ankles are getting stronger [ there was even an attempt at some frisking and gamboling but I didn't quite time the camera right ]

She still has a way to go in the manners department though:

"Feet off the table Ro[wa]n!" - bonus points if you get the reference.
and if you spotted that the burn marks on Rowan's head seem much smaller and less defined than on Ruby,they're not really. It's because Rowan has longer hair and I brushed it forward with my fingers to make the black less obvious in the photos.

ETA The cats have been complaining about the one-sided nature of the photos this week, so just to keep them sweet, here's Ms Caramel with BBB [ Big Brown Bear or as he will be henceforth referred to - Threebie ] Although now I guess I'm going to have protests from the other two. Can't win.
Edited some more to add:Nadie has embedded some video of Ruby and Rowan on her blog here and here

Thursday, September 13, 2007


Well it's all done. The babies have been dehorned
It was truly revolting so don't read on if you're easily upset.
I know that I certainly feel ill.
The horns had to come off. Dairy does can inflict really nasty injuries on each other if they retain their protuberances.
They get cauterised ... with red hot irons heated in the wood heater.
Can you imagine the smell?
Well, whatever you are imagining it was worse... and the noise. The vet warned me that the babies would bawl at the pain. Did I want to go hide at the other end of the house? Yes I did but no I didn't do it.
My stomach was as clenched as it used to be when one of the children needed a blood test or something else nastily invasive.
They stopped crying almost immediately and their poor concerned mummy has been reuninited with them - she checked them over minutely - but I still feel queasy and of course the burn smell is going to linger for a while.
Anyway I'm just heating them up a bottle for some comfort snuzzling.
There won't be any photos. Trust me, you don't want to see them.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

On Style

For those of you who aren't familiar with Oz geography, Melbourne is the capital of the southernmost mainland state,Victoria.
People who live in Melbourne spend 66.6% of their time wearing black,
The other eight hours a day, they are asleep [ and quite possibly wearing black ]
This is a well known fact.
People who live in Melbourne are stylish ... it is the Style Capital of Australia - the centre of our not inconsiderable fashion industry, it is the bastion of the Arts and Kulture. This is not open for debate. It just IS.

There is a well known quote [ from a Sydneysider ] to the effect that " Australia finally has a world class opera house. Unfortunately the outside is in Sydney and the inside is in Melbourne " and so on and so forth. You get the idea.

I am [originally] from Melbourne.

So what does this tell you?


Okay, that was the sound of people who know me in real life either:

a] having a heart attack


b] spluttering scalding liquids all over their keyboards at the thought of putting the words 'Catsmum' and 'style' in the same sentence.

Or even in the same town.

Maybe even the same state is too close.

It's not that I'm what you'd call a fashion victim or a fashion tragic, because to be called that you would probably have to actually wear something that bears a resemblance to actual fashion. There's probably a rule to that effect. In fact I'm reasonably sure that I read it somewhere.

My own personal sense of [ and I use the term so loosely, it's in danger of collapsing ] 'style ' has for several decades lent towards layers, leggings and long skirts. A niece once referred to me as a closet bohemian. She did not mean it as a compliment.

Then I moved to Castlemaine and discovered that a good percentage of the locals dress by the same rules. We wear layers because the temp frequently goes from freezing to glorious in the space of three or four hours [ or as summer approaches, from mild to ' my god I'm gonna die of heat prostration' ]

Layers make sense up here... and if you live in Castlemaine AND bellydance, then of course, the long gypsy skirts are a wardrobe staple.

Which is why my DD expressed surprise on Monday that I was wearing pants. She wasn't aware that I owned any.

What can I tell you? Long skirts do not work when one is squatting in a goat shed milking, or cradling newborn animals, or doing anything that might involve incontinent younglings.

What? You thought this was a goat-free post? Silly you.

No, I can't even go one post without dragging the babies into it. Sad, isn't it?


Kid update:

Her legs will be fine. It's a common weakness most probably caused by the fact that she was stuck to the rear of the womb but was the larger kid so her feet got turned under. They're getting stronger but at the moment she's very wobbly.

Ruby however is doing actual 'gamboling' - and maybe even a bit of a frisk
[ and she weighed in at somewhere between 3.5 and 4 kgs for those that were wondering ]
Both are bottle feeding well - Rowan is a greedy guts.
They will need to be dehorned in the next few days but the vet will do that.

Things I have learned:
  • mother goats are much more attentive than mother sheep. The babies just have to make the slightest protesting sound. A sheep will wander off and leave the babe bawling its little head off.

  • mother goats are not particularly fussy about which end of the baby they are licking

  • baby goats are an incredible time waster. They are so unbelievably gorgeous and sweet and soft that I can feel myself turning to marshmallow as I type. Who wants to quilt or knit or eat or read when there are two little bundles to be snuzzled?

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Baby photos

Rowan 4.5 kgs more or less using the digital bathroom scales which only weigh in half kilo increments
Ruby ? not sure yet - a little bit less.
Rowan seems to have a weakness in the front legs so I'm off to consult the goat guru this morning when I drop David off. If it's what I think it might be , she just needs vitamin A [ cold liver oil ]
one congratulatory email received this morning from a certain individual who shall remain nameless inquired as to whether I had knitted the new mother a spiffy bedjacket for receiving visitors. There were several enquiries over the last week as to layettes and baby quilts. So now you know. My friends are just as insane as I am :]

Monday, September 10, 2007

Birth Announcement

Posted by Nadie

Twin girls arrived about 4 and 4.30pm respectively. A nice quick delivery [ about an hour from start to finish ] with mum and bubs all doing well. The girls are currently bonding with mum / sleeping off their first feed. Poor Robbyn has been banned from the goat shed for the time being and it's pouring so she's been duly bribed with her favourite food to try and sweeten the deal.
Ruby, the smaller of the two, arrived first. She is a beautiful strawberry blonde girl with white on her head, belly and ankles. We thought she was all we were getting but, as we were finishing up the first feed, I noticed a foot hanging out and two minutes later Rowan arrived. Rowan definitely takes after Rosie in the looks department, although both girls have mum's straight nose as opposed to dad's roman one. Rowan is mostly white with caramel red on the back of her head and a stripe down her back. She has mum's alert ears and Ruby has dad's floppy rabbit ears.

The other 'grandparents' [ PND and Brenda ] heard the commotion and came over to see Ruby and to help with the clean up but left just before Rowan arrived.


Just kidding!

Well almost.

Yes folks, THIS time it is actually happening. I'll spare you the gynacological details that have let us know it's the real deal.

Just trust us - we have labour.

Nothing actually showing yet - if there was I wouldn't be here blogging, I'd be out there, in the rain, 'supervising', and Nadie would be warming frozen bright yellow goat milk.

I'm hoping I don't have to actually intervene but with such highly bred animals, nature isn't always able to take it's course apparently.

Seemed so simple five months ago. Bring goat A over for a visit with goat B. Listen to loud goaty love songs all night. Done deal.

It was really only the last few weeks when the breeder started telling me all the stuff I needed to be prepared for, that I realised what I had actually [potentially] gotten myself into. Gulp.

Oh and in case you haven't read all the comments on the last post, today she gave 4.25 litres [ 2.2 pints to the litre so over a gallon ] - PND's goats were only giving about 2 litres a day at their best. We are going to be awash in goat milk products. May even be 'a washing in goat milk products [ Yeah. I know. Groan. Blame Nadie - she said it. Not me]
and also btw those huge hollows in her sides are normal for a Saanen. She's actually overfed if anything but these girls just never get fat. It all goes into the milk.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

No kidding!

Turns out that the title of the last post was a little bit too accurate. I've been as sick as the proverbial pooch since Thursday :really appalling migraine of the tossing up my toes variety. Couldn't even keep a teaspoon of water down for long enough to take the migraine meds until Saturday :[
I had to call friend Robyn to pick David up on Friday and she willingly drove 15km, arrived with a bunch of flowers, took one look at me and packed him back in the car for a trip to Bendigo. He was delivered back home 3 hours later with half a BBQ chicken for his dinner. Now THAT'S what I call a friend!
So I'm rather glad that Ms Rosie waited until tonight to go into labour. It's early hours yet. In fact about the only sign is a lot of very soft bleating. She probably won't actually get to the business end until about 4 am but there's no point in trying to go to bed. I'm the world's worst sleeper at the best of times, so the fact that I've been up since 5 this morning makes no nevermind.
So long as this isn't a false alarm.
which apparently it was - after a largely sleepless night no babies so far. Maybe she was just complaining about the rain,
I'm fine ...just a little fuzzy around the edges... and it will totally be worth it once we have kids. Everyone keep fingers and toes crossed for a safe delivery please as this is the first time for both Rosie and moi :] Shee-it I wasn't this nervous when the grandpeanut was due. Maybe because there were people around who knew what the flipping heck they were doing.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

My mother is a sick, sick woman

by Ms Sophie
Just because some well-known american Blogger decides to have a competition that involves
making a cat sweater and then forcing your poor innocent moggie to model it, my rotten excuse for a mother thinks it's okay to do things like this.
The contest was only announced this morning but did that stop the mad woman...oooh no... she had me into the Tea-Shirt before I even realised what she was up to.
It's Oakley's job to do these sort of things, isn't it? Still I guess I can't blame her too much . She DID have to choose the most attractive resident feline to model her creation after all.