Tuesday, September 30, 2008


I'm trying not to be a nervous 'mother' and I'm trying to tell myself that by now it's all over, and Bear is probably sleeping the sleep of the newly de-knackered, but that doesn't stop me getting the fidgits

I would swear that he knew last night what was coming.
Those sad, reproachful little eyes.
The incredibly pathetic look as I handed him over at the Vet's this morning

I do firmly believe non-breeding stock should be neutered [ especially when the neighbours don't appear to have any such qualms ]
... but

... so I wait
and to fill the time I will share my comfy, shiny, red Jane Debster patent leather scuffs. Bought at the Op Shop for the grand sum of $2 and being worn purely and simply so I can show you that I've finished the second pair of Bripples.
Variegated yarns looks fab-u-lous in the skein or the ball, but sometimes disappointing when actually knitted up
especially in socks
especially with complex patterns
but plain, plain socks are so-o-o-o boring to knit

the reason I love this Broad Ripple pattern for socks, especially in hand dyed yarns, is that it is only 2 rows [ and one of them is just knit ] but it looks interesting without being obscured by, or obscuring, the beauty of the yarn.

Well that took my mind off Bear for a few minutes
Okay going now to have a nice soothing cup of chai with David out in the garden. There will probably be weed pulling and goat patting involved.

ETA: [at 4.20pm ] he's home, and alternating between racing around in his usual manner and then doing the bow legged walk. His first priority was the food bowl, having been starved since 9 last night, and then a quick inspection of the operation site. He's all snipped and [micro] chipped ...
I'm happy now :]

Monday, September 29, 2008

too much information?

Mr Bear doesn't know it yet, but he's going to be saying "Bye bye" to certain small portions of his anatomy tomorrow morning

Sunday, September 28, 2008

any Star Trek fans out there?

for anyone who isn't a Trekkie, the android, Data had a striped orange cat named Spot.

I love that! My next stripy feline is absolutely going to be named Spot

the current His Orangeness, aka Oakley is so named because #1 son - who brought him home and therefore had naming rights - had a much prized, bright orange, metallic finish pair of Oakley sunnies at the time. The glasses are long gone but Oakley is still with us at 13.

Oakley and I would like to share with you Data's 'Ode to Spot':

Felis Cattus, is your taxonomic nomenclature,
An endothermic quadruped, carnivorous by nature
Your visual, olfactory and auditory senses
Contribute to your hunting skills, and natural defenses.

I find myself intrigued by your subvocal oscillations,
A singular development of cat communications
That obviates your basic hedonistic predilection
For a rhythmic stroking of your fur, to demonstrate affection.

A tail is quite essential for your acrobatic talents;
You would not be so agile if you lacked its counterbalance.
And when not being utilized to aide in locomotion,
It often serves to illustrate the state of your emotion.

O Spot, the complex levels of behaviour you display
Connote a fairly well-developed cognitive array.
And though you are not sentient, Spot, and do not comprehend,
I nonetheless consider you a true and valued friend.


from the episode “Schisms”

Saturday, September 27, 2008

whatcha found Mr Bear?

what have you found little buddy?

brown and scaly
erkkk! - get outta there RIGHT NOW

oh, okay it's got legs

it was one of the Bobs* this time but if one kind of reptile has woken up presumably so have all the others ... the ones that don't have legs ... so I'm going to have to watch Bear because he knows no fear

Bear is still making loud and pointed remarks - through the screen door - about rotten bloody lizards having the temerity to trespass on his turf.

Some cheese may be in order. Bear is of the opinion that a good piece of Colby is very soothing to injured pride.

* Shingleback or Bob Tailed Lizards

Friday, September 26, 2008

A Beautiful Spring Day

Today was a picture perfect 25C [ about 77F] with clear blue skies and not the slightest trace of a breeze.

Definitely an outside day

Being of mixed Irish, English and Scots heritage and quite capable of getting sunburned changing a light bulb, I am now an ever so slightly rosy pink in some of the places that weren't adequately sunscreened.

Anyway, moving on to the garden:

this is 'Winter Lace' Italian lavender and usually it would be finished by now, but for some reason it's a bit late this year. I have it on both sides of the kitchen door and I just love the lushness of the flowers
These irises are out for the first time. I have no idea what they are called but aren't they gorgeous ? You may be able to just see one of the tiny Johnny Jump Ups [ violas ] almost hidden there in the middle. The feathery looking leaves belong to some of my umpty gazillion larkspurs which are still a few weeks away from flowering.They are placed to the front of a bed that has a lot of the more common purple iris and some lavenders so the colour combinations are just perfect.
I took this one to give you a sense of their relative sizes. Those new ones are only about 6" tall !

Thursday, September 25, 2008

how to waste a couple of hours

Boring, boring, boring, fairly useless meeting tonight supposedly to do with establishing a Respite Care house here in town but mainly an excuse for posturing, drivel, jargon and self congratulation by various service providers.
Should've taken the current travelling sock ... I was sitting in the back row ... who would've noticed or cared?
Basically that was two and a half hours of my life that I won't get back

current sock:
the start of another pair of Bripple Socks
this time I'm using a $20 hank of Opal Hundertwasser that I acquired with a quilt show prize voucher a couple of years ago. I've lightly overdyed it in [ from memory ] a burgundy-ish shade, which has made the colours richer and less garish than they appeared once I got it out into the clear light of day.
Absolutely no promises about this pair being finished at the Olympic speed of the last lot

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Look what my boy made!

David has been busy making 'pots' in ceramic class

this one has three holes near the rim so I'm assuming it's meant to be a bird feeder. The outside is brown and the inside - which no one will see if I string it up - is this glorious deep cherry red. Shall have to think on that one a while. One can never have too many bird feeders but ... hey ... maybe I could hang it low enough to see inside!

this purple one will be going to Nadie. It's a bit wobbly on the bottom but somehow I don't think she's going to mind.

and then there is another larger one in a sort of khaki colour. It's promised to Stephen.
and Nonna hasn't been forgotten either. There's a ... mmmm ... spoon rest/ashtray/pin dish/thingie for her. She'll love it, whatever it is, just because David made it.

These pots are less 'primitive' looking than the ones that he did earlier in the year, and in a way I suppose that I prefer the earlier rough and rustic efforts, but I'm going to treasure my new feeder
I'm pretty proud of him
Bear wants you to know that he's proud too [ totally gratuitous cute animal photo ]

Monday, September 22, 2008

Free pattern: simple lace baby beanie

Since you all asked so nicely, here's the pattern for that wee baby hat from a couple of weeks ago:

The original [pink] one was made in 4ply baby yarn [ fingering ] on 3mm needles, and to check the pattern I've just remade it in the variegated 8ply[ DK ] on 4mm needles. Either works. The finer yarn yields a large prem/ newborn size and the other yarn works out to about a 3 month size.

There is a minor difference between the two hats - mainly because I didn't actually LOOK at the first one before starting the second - but trust me it's not that important.

Okay, okay, if you look really closely, each band in the small hat has 3 sets of eyelets and the larger one has 4 sets. The row count is the same though because I did 2 rows of stocking / stockinette in each band on the small hat before starting the eyelets.
As written, these directions are for the version with four rows of eyelets.

Simple Lace Baby Beanie

to fit 3 months

yarn - 8 ply / DK approx 90 metres

gauge: 22 st to 4 inches over stocking/stockinette

needles 4mm

cast on 82 st
Rows 1-3: knit [ row 1 is wrong side ]
Row 4: k2*,y fwd, k2, k2tog, ssk, k2, y fwd,k2, repeat from * to end
Row 5: k1, p to last st, k1
Rows 6 - 11: repeat rows 4 and 5 [ 3 times ]
Row 12: repeat row 5
Row 13: knit

repeat rows 4 - 13 once
repeat rows 4 - 11 once

Row 32: k2tog, k to last 2 st, k2tog [ 80 st ]
Row 33: knit
Row 34:* k2tog, k8, repeat from* to end
Row 35 and alt rows: knit
Row 36:* k2tog, k7, repeat from * to end
Row 38:* k2tog, k6, repeat from * to end

continue decreasing in this manner until there are 8 stitches remaining
next row: k2 tog across row

cut yarn at least 16" long and thread through the 4 remaining stitches, pull up tight, fasten off and use remaining yarn to sew side seam.

for personal and charity use c. 2008 Susan Iacuone

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Ahoy maties! Shiver Me Timbers!

Today be Talk Like A Pirate Day - why I knows not but who be I to naysay? Arrrrgh!

where be me bloody parrot?

Thursday, September 18, 2008

hippo birdy two ewes

David turns the big 3-0 today and it was duly celebrated with his friends this afternoon over two cakes and nibblies
Here he is: blowing out the candle watched intently by his mate Charles who knew cake was in his immediate future
Mind you his b'day celebrations started with a pizza dinner last Thursday night at his social group, continued with Nadie on the weekend, then #1 son Stephen stayed over on Tuesday night so we took the opportunity to continue the celebrations with a pub dinner and finally [ maybe ] the afternoon tea today.
Even though Nadie is my youngest, David is, in many ways, the baby of the family so it feels rather strange that he has hit this major milestone.
I will admit to feeling a bit sad this morning ... was going to write nostalgic but no ... sad is the operative word ... remembering his 21st birthday party which was held not long before his father passed away, but I don't think Dave is aware of such things and he has had a very happy day/week from all accounts.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Folded Fabric Fun

I've found that the world is divided into those who CAN teach themselves quite happily from written directions and those that struggle.
I belong firmly to the first group and if it weren't for the existence of the second group I probably wouldn't have been teaching quilting for a quarter of a century.

Be that as it may, it is really rare for me to strike a pattern, or set of directions, that I can't nut out, regardless of how it's written.
I just automatically assume that I'll be able to work it out no matter what "it" is
Which just goes to prove that pride [ or perhaps eternal optimism ] really does goeth before a fall

Allow me to 'splain

I found two really cute little folded fabric origami patterns by Hitomi from Quilting Heart over at Purl's Palace, Daylesford t'other day and decided that today was the day to try out one of them:

It says quite clearly to practice in paper first
and did I do that?

not on your Nellie

as a result the prototype took about two hours [ and mind you this was AFTER emailing the designer last week for clarification - which she was very nice about ]

model #2 took 15 minutes

and by #5 I had it down to 10 minutes flat

the original idea is to incorporate these into a mini quilt but I'm thinking more along the lines of spray mounting them and framing in simple box frames

wonder how they'd work - with slight modifications of course - in silk paper???

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

that was the week that was

It's been a long week
not necessarily a bad one
but loooooong

Last Monday was the day for 'The Procedure' that had been cancelled a fortnight before, and Nadie drove up from Melbourne on the Sunday to help with David and to be my support person.
we had a few nice hours before I became otherwise occupied.
Monday was mainly spent sitting around drinking lots of fluid, ignoring the grumbly tummy, and waiting until it was time to go to hospital. I'll spare you the blow by blow details and fast forward several very boring hours [ thank goodness for Terry Pratchett! ]until I had come out the other side to the news that all's well.

Tuesday was spent recovering from Sunday/Monday and Nadie went home after lunch. Then I worked for a while one the current quilt

Wednesday was quilt group in town - totally manic in a good way and I needed a good lie down when I got home

Thursday? gardening, reading, housework and choir practice after dinner

Friday - coffee in town with Jeanette followed by dance class accompanied by The Bear who has two doggy mates that also come to class. No biscuit is safe with this trio around.
The day was glorious [ 22C] so gardening was followed by a ramble around the back of the block looking for wildflowers

tiny Leopard Orchid
equally tiny Sun Orchids [ maybe ]

after which I raced back into town to collect Nadie from the train and then David from work. Nadie was back up for the second time in less than a week because she was going to hold the fort with David on Saturday while I taught a quilt class in town.
By this stage of the week, the aftereffects of the General anaesthetic were catching up with me [ or something ] and I was beginning to feel both tired and migrainey, so an early - ish night later:

Saturday was another glorious day [ about 23C ] and fortified with migraine meds, I had a nice day with several of the ladies from my local group who were exploring Anjii's Angles which is one of my favourite techniques to teach

... Alison and her sister Chris worked together to create this top in a hurry for a family member who is terminally ill.

Sunday was mainly devoted to sitting in the sun with Nadie and doing some tandem Pratchett reading / cat cuddling / dog snuggling

pink baby top from a 1970s Mon Tricot. mystery 4ply [ fingering ] yarn and 3.75mm needles... possibly for the great niece due in December.
It's all done in one piece, side to side, and shaped with a series of short rows. I haven't made one of these in AGES and I'm remembering how much fun they are.
well - fun, except that this pic was taken at the point where I discovered that I had done four repeats too many across the front and would have to pull back before starting the other sleeve.

Gave up on TP's Pyramids that has had me stalled for ages. Started Guards!Guards! on Monday and have since finished it and cruised through Eric and Moving Pictures. Started Reaper Man last night.

Gardening: weeds!!!

In case you are interested, it is now slightly less than 100 days until Christmas
you may now panic

Sunday, September 14, 2008

The Cat Rules!

Bear's being brought up in a household ruled by three cats and if he wants to get ahead he needs to live by said cat rules.

If there is a choice of two [ or in this case three] vacant laps and only one of them belongs to a person trying to knit or read, THAT is the lap to be occupied.

Bear proves that he is a fast learner!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Gene who?

Bear and his sister Molly channel the KISS spirit

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

what a difference a year makes

Ruby and Rowan here - we'd like to announce that we are all grown up and turning one year old today
and just in case anyone is wondering what one should give goats for their berfday ...

the answer ... as should be obvious to any thinking individual ... GRAPES
Catsmum clearly is well aware of this vital piece of caprine information because that is precisely what we have just received.

[ note from Catsmum - there is no photo of that because I was otherwise occupied with the business of 'not having fingers eaten off by grape-scarfing goats' ]

In a nice piece of synchronicity, this little guy was lurking at the Post Office this morning, clearly in need of adoption and a certain Catsmother felt compelled to buy him/her/it for the grandson who needs to be taught that we are neither sheep nor cows.
She very nearly kept him/her/it for herself, but the grandmother compulsion prevailed. She hasn't actually given it to Riley, you understand, but she texted #1 son and told him there was 'something' here for Master R which means that she can't change her mind... but if there's another one hiding out at the PO then all bets are off!

Saturday, September 06, 2008

wooosh! where'd the week go ?

Once again I've been caught up in that weird blogworld contradiction of having a frantically busy week and so much to blog about - but - no time to actually do it

the weather has been mostly gorgeous and that means being outside lugging dirt and rocks for new garden beds and planting stuff and weeding and so on

and I have to confess after that 'frantically busy' comment up there that there WAS also some time for just sitting in the sun with a cup of chai, assorted animals and just imbibing the peace and quiet and the birdsong ...

... which was far preferable to sitting inside on the computer and blogging about it, so I'm sure that you'll all understand and forgive me

In between bouts of gardening, there was time for a trip across to Daylesford with Jeanette for Purl's Princesses, our monthly knitting group on Tuesday, combined with the weekly lugging of the quilt stand, raffle quilt, money tin and tickets over to the IGA and back again.

Wednesday saw me slogging about on the back 5 acres with my friend Denise and her ever-so-obliging-husband, Steve. He had been 'volunteered' and came armed with chainsaw. The aim being to cut down enough good wood to last out this winter [ and yes, I do know that it is now technically Spring but we can still get frosts until October so a fire 24/7 is pretty much mandatory ]
Steve dropped and chopped 'em and Denise and I were in charge of carrying and stacking in the ute and then unloading and stacking in the carport.

Thursday morning I could barely move but at least I was warm!!!

Later that day, Corrie - she who spoils me with opera tickets - arrived by train from Melbourne.

Now you have to understand that I love Corrie to bits but the one place where we part company is that she is so definitely NOT an animal person. It's a measure of our relationship that she is still willing to come up here with goats and cats and goodness knows what else but I'm afraid the Bearminator was just toooooo much ... especially as he wanted to bounce all over her. So Mr Bear had a little sleepover with Misty and Mollie next door. No harm no foul.

David was going out with his social club and I told Corrie that I would normally be heading out to singing group after dinner, making it clear that I was more than okay with missing it for the night, but she was up for that, so off we went, and she had an absolute ball.

Yesterday she shouted me to lunch at Maldon, a tiny, gorgeous, touristy-time-warp hamlet not far from here and some retail therapy until it was time to drop her back to the station and to collect David.

There has been some housework, a dance class or two, some work on the current quilt, and of course some knitting and crochet in front of the fire at night:

scarf for nadie requested to match the wristwarmers that I just realised you haven't seen either so here they are as well [ made sometime in August ]
both are variations of my garter lace mittens pattern which is over there in the sidebar
then this wee hat in unidentified baby yarn for donation or to the next person who has a girl child and crochet booties to match a baby beret that I also seem to have forgotten to show you - there was a flurry of small stuff done in the first week of the Olympics while I waited for the green and gold yarn to arrive and it seems to have slipped under the radar.

anyway the upshot is that I'm sure you understand why I had so little time for blogging this week and why some of this post is a bit light on for details?

Monday, September 01, 2008

drum roll please maestro

the winner of the second annual Blogiversary Giveaway is ...

who only lives about a half an hour from here so I could hand deliver her goodies ... but I won't because it's much more fun getting stuff in the mail, don't you agree?

Thank you all for leaving your comments

Tara - it'll take me a day or two to get your stuff together so you can start stalking the mailman from about the end of the week :]

and Happy First Day of Spring