Thursday, January 31, 2008

Sometimes it takes me a while

For some reason this morning, I suddenly made a decision regarding that which is laughingly referred to as my wardrobe. It is in dire and desperate need of another baby-doll style dress: this season's fashion gift to those of us with almost no boobs and a disproportionately large middle.
So did I head straight for town and the delights of somewhere like Country Tar-jay?
not on your Nellie
not this little black duck
for what my wardrobe required, nay, demanded, was
a crochet dress.
in nice, cool cotton
maybe variegated
Something like the misdyed Bendy 8-ply cotton I used for the Chic Hippie [ or in my case Hippy Chick ] skirt from Candi Jensen's Hooked On Crochet.
You know.
That one I made last year and never wear because it makes me look like a hippy hippie hippo

For modesty's sake, perhaps the top section could be solid trebles [double crochet for my US friends] ... just like the yoke of the CH skirt

and then some sort of graduated shell pattern ... just like the CH skirt

yeah and maybe some little buttons down the front ... the ... ones ... on ... the ...

bloody hell

fast forward through the removal of the drawstring from the waist, and the manipulating of a few metres of cotton thread around a 3.5mm hook to create a couple of shoulder straps
and if you'll forgive the crappy back-lit photos:

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

that was the week that was

Thursday saw me up bright and early to feed goats and greet the day. Thunderstorms were forecast and the prospect of rain eagerly awaited. So I drove into town and lo! water on the road! Dropped David off at his Day Placement and kept on going to Fryerstown and Lo! more water! Grey clouds looming and a lot of anxious stallholders setting up for the weekend's antique fair.
You can get in the two days before on an early bird ticket, which is usually perfect for me because I don't contemplate taking David on the weekend once it's in full swing - dust, crowds, and dogs = a recipe for a David Major Meltdown.
Anyway I paid the princely sum of $5 and in I went. About half of the stalls were fully set up and one had to keep an eye out for trailers backing up but it was fine for about half an hour and then it started raining. Not 'the heavens opened' or anything, but enough to set all the stallholders panicking around with tarpaulins and drop sheets. Still there were finds to be found and bargains to be had.
I acquired another tin trunk for my stash of fire lighting newspaper - $12
some knitting gauges, needle books and a darner
a vintage white-metal victorian shoe pincushion for Maz which I didn't photograph
and that's really about it. Apart from a $2 not-at-all-antique blue and white china guinea pig.
... and when I got home? Not one single, solitary drop of rain to be seen.

Friday - I had thoughts of going back to Fryerstown but decided some last minute house tidying was probably necessary. Chris and Maz arrived around 1pm, offloaded and then headed out to Fryerstown sans moi. At about 1.05pm, I opened the kitchen door and a very startled 3' brown snake beat a hasty retreat through the adjacent shrubbery.
One phone call to PND later, and with a brief pause for the hasty donning of cowboy boots-and-shovel, there we were, conducting a fruitless search for said reptile who hasn't been sighted since. Chris, Maz and Nadie were all alerted by phone to the need for snake related watchfulness.
Still no rain

Saturday - hot, humid - no rain. This, photographed in all its glory in the morning, was a faded ruin by evening.

Sunday - Nadie arrived around lunchtime and we had a BBQ dinner to belatedly celebrate Chris' birthday on the 16th. I'm not going to tell you what natal anniversary he was celebrating [ but if you know mine - well he's 11 months older ]
Didn't pick up my knitting until about 10 pm.

Monday - Chris and Maz headed back home around lunchtime, Nadie and I pottered - bit of this bit of that - goat and cat bonding featured strongly for her, and tinking a days' worth of progress on the bamboo cami on my part - and she toddled off back to Melbourne after tea but not before modelling Sweetie Pie... and as I am a Catsmum of considerably more girth than my DD, it was strategically pinned but you get the idea. I plan on wearing it for belly dancing - those sleeves will hide a multitude of sins.

Tuesday - long weekend over and everyone back to business. Last night was our first Clogging class for the year, so Karen and I headed for Bendigo. One stop at Maccas later, we arrived at Maiden Gully well aware that it was totally insane to be tap dancing in a hot stuffy hall in 30+C heat... but we did it anyway. Between a lay off of 6 weeks or so and the heat, Heather wisely settled for a revision night. that was the week that was. Still no rain unless you count yesterday's total of 4 drops.
Pause for gratuitous cat: Oakley enjoying the catmint out in the Cat Run you may now return to your regularly scheduled program

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Fly By WNBPP* now with photos

* Wednesday Night Bullet Point Post

So this is what I'm:
  • Knitting - lacy nightie from IK in Cleckheaton Bamboo. Mine will be more cami than nightie.
  • Loving - the bamboo yarn - wonderful drape, lovely sheen, sort of slinky feel. The test will be how it washes up because I could see this being fabulous next to baby skin.
  • Trying - Russian Joins as a way of coping with the slippery yarn and working on circs. So far so good!
  • Quilting - not so much. Was going to do some hand piecing at Goldfield's Quilters today but when I got there at 9.40 there was no sign of anyone so I went home and reorganised the smallest bedroom instead. I know they all turned up later but just for a moment I was convinced I'd got the week wrong. Oh well - next time.
  • Painting - my bathroom is now green to match the bedroom. Not being one to rush these things, it's only taken me 11 months to get back to it. I did the cutting -in last February.
  • Reading -just started The Book Thief. Too early to comment yet
  • Watching - Blackpool on DVD [ David Tennant yummo ]
  • Looking forward to - the Australia Day holiday weekend and visits from Chris/Maz and Nadie ... also the Fryerstown Antique Fair also this weekend - which is why Chris and Maz are coming up.
  • Feeling sad about - the fact that Heath Ledger's life has ended so tragically and so early

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

I promised you cats

MissC : " Clean washing? What clean washing?"
and Oakley watching Fred and George via the Cat TV.
and just so that Sophie can't complain about being left out
a gratuitous archival image

Monday, January 21, 2008

my babies are growing up!

You've had the quilting, the knitting and crochet, and I think the snake incident would qualify as "Life in the Bush"

however I've been neglecting the domestic livestock updates

I don't think there's been a photo of the goaty girls since probably NOVEMBER
So herewith:
today's photo of my babies who are now 4 months old and very nearly as tall as Robbyn, although a mere fraction of her weight. Rosie still towers over them though, so they've still got some growing to do.

btw this is what happens when the laundry door isn't fully shut

the cats are demanding equal time so there will be a felicentric post tomorrow ... oh and we had the first rain for the year on Friday - an inch which was very welcome.

Friday, January 18, 2008

regarding things of a brown and wriggly nature

There's an old, grainy, black and white photo somewhere up in the shed of me with about a metre and a half of diamond backed carpet python wrapped about my shoulders.
It's a cool photograph even with the 1980 hair.

It was taken at the school I was teaching at, in a controlled environment with a python which was used to being handled as part of a travelling reptile show run by Andrew Wegener who is apparently still doing this stuff
Most of the other staff gave the animals a wide berth but I popped in after class on the first day with #1 son who was about 5 at the time - must've been cos he was in preps - and we both got to handle the 'safe' snake and a few lizards.
The next day, when the preppies got their turn at Andrew's talk, he handed the snake to Stephen because he already knew that he'd be okay with it. Normally he wouldn't have been able to do that of course. So there's a second photo... somewhere.
Snakes in a controlled environment - interesting.

Fast forward a few years to me living here in the middle of my 10 acres of pretty much virgin bush, and my attitude to brown-and-wriggly is a little different. It's sort of "Eeeeee [shudder] snake!!"
A country-born-and-bred friend of mine from quilting once famously described my block as being so dry that " you couldn't run one snake to an acre" and I sincerely hope that she was correct.
All the snakes I might be likely to run across here would be the nasty variety. Mostly aggressive browns... but I haven't seen any in the 3 years I've been here.
I did see a teeny weeny one of these last summer
BUT apparently PNDs daughter - safely in car - saw one crossing their driveway between my dam and his, last weekend.
a six footer
Well away from my house, and heading further away but too close to both Pete's house and livestock for comfort... and that was the second one seen coming from the direction of my dam in the last few months.
no trotting up the block to visit Ms Bella, and no rambling around any part of the block where I can't see bare earth.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

promises promises

Last year about a gazillion knitters joined Knit From Your Stash 07. Some succeeded, some not so much.
Personally I stuck to the rules almost completely - but - the damn stash still grew ... a lot ...because The Rules had a little too much leeway in them.
Sock Yarn didn't count
Dyeing supplies didn't count [ this one could be used to justify purchase of any amount of white or natural cream wool, cotton or bamboo ]
yarn needed for a specific present that you didn't already have ... did not count
spinning supplies ... repeat after me ... did not count
gifted yarn did not count

Can you see where I'm heading with this?
Yes. I thought that you might...
and the biggy ? my number one Achille's heel ? the major flaw in the plan ?

anything on sale in the magic playroom of special discounts at Bendigo Woollen Mills

sad isn't it?

Of all of the stuff that I knit last year, only the Louisa Harding Kimono Pure Angora for Auntie Fay's scarf - and okay, yeah, the second one that I made for myself - was non stash, but I pretty much took The Rules and used them to justify some fairly massive spends at Bendy.
So I've decided not to set any arbitrary rules for myself but to try and practice 'mindful' yarn acquisition.
No promises. No resolutions. We'll just see how the stash goes... and all bets are off for the Sheep and Wool Show in July.

With that in mind, I've joined the 'Stash Knit Down 2008' Forum [ fairly self explanatory ] over on Ravelry.
The first challenge was to knit or crochet 1 mile or 1609 metres between January 5 and the 20th of Feb from stashed yarn.
Thanks to having to redo 670 metres of my Sweetie Pie Cami, plus crochet's propensity for eating up about a third more yarn than the equivalent amount of knitting, plus the fact that I'm a rather umm 'generous' size and that I made it longer and added the afterthought sleeves, my finished cami took a whopping 1620 odd metres.
So herewith my first official finished object of '08Started jan 5
finished today jan 17
one whole mile of thin thread [ BWM 4 ply/ fingering cotton on a 3.5mm hook ]
can I get a w00t ?

oh and this? this is what it looks like when the ball of cotton runs out with about 4" of thread needed to finish.
Just as well I had more of the yarn but still ... damn damn and double damn
and I'll tell you about the snake tomorrow okay?

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

I've been tagged again

Some time ago I got tagged for the Five Random Things Meme and couldn't think of any more stuff that I hadn't already shared via the Six weird Things, Six More Weird Things and Even More.

Now Maz has tagged me as well.

So for Maz and [ I think ] Tanya who tagged me last time:

1. I'm allergic to shellfish and sulphur based drugs and have a strong sensitivity to chicken ... the difference being that eating chicken won't require immediate medical intervention, just migraine meds.
2. One of my cats is epileptic, has been since the age of 1 and requires the same meds as a human would.
3. My fabric stash, aka The Great Wall Of Fabric, should have its own postcode and is large enough to be seen from space.
4. I used to be 'double-jointed' to the degree that I could kneel, bend backwards and put my head on the ground between my ankles. Where was Cirque Du Soleil back then ?
5. I can still do the splits, and also place my palms flat to the floor from a standing position without bending my knees.
Astoundingly, these are skills that I rarely get an opportunity to exercise these days.

If you'd like to do this one, consider yourself tagged and tell me so in the comments.

Monday, January 14, 2008

the spiral thingy

I said that I'd tell you about the things stuck on my design wall ... granted I said I'd [probably] tell you about them yesterday and we both know that didn't happen but what the heck, better late than never.
the bunch of Japanese fabrics are being auditioned for a commission piece for which I have no actual design in mind.
This will be one of my 'designing-directly-with-the-fabric-and-see-where-that-takes-me' pieces, which is my normal method of working.
The only design brief is that it be Japanese, purple, black and cranes.
The scary thing is that all those fabrics apart from the two plain purples - which I may not end up using - are straight from the stash. What's even scarier is that I started the auditioning process with no fewer than 100 different, mostly black, mostly Japanese fabrics all from the stash
Do you have any idea how many different blacks there are?
No, I don't know either but there's a lot.
I feel like I'm channeling Goldilocks: this black is too blue, this black is too yellow but THIS black is juuuuuuust right.

moving on

Back in 2005, I made this
I feel as though the concept has more mileage in it and the other day I doodled this on a notepad by the phone
so then I drew a larger version.
It has a lot more sections and those teeny slivers may be a pain, so I may yet go with taking the doodle to the copy shop and get it scaled up
...or not.
Anyway, I'm seeing an ammonite - although with minor changes it can be made to look very fern like too.

World's Greatest Shave

Nadie is participating in this year's 'World's Greatest Shave' aimed at raising money for the fight against Leukemia.
We haven't any personal experience of this particular form of cancer. To us it's enough that we lost her father and grandmother to cancer, and another family member is currently fighting the same battle.
She's aiming for $500
You can help by sponsoring her online for any amount no matter how small - or if you know me IRL , donate to me and I'll pass it along.
I've never used the Blog before to canvas for donations so I hope you'll understand

Saturday, January 12, 2008

the playroom

Today I'm taking you on a walk around my sewing room/workroom/studio space.
As I've said before, normal people would probably call it the living room, opening as it does directly from the front door... or should that be the MAIN door ?... because my kitchen also faces the front of the house and so the kitchen door is also a 'front' door.
This is not quite as bizarre as it sounds because the house is built across the hill and the best [ read 'only'] views are to the front so any designer worth his salt would take advantage of that ... right?
a small but relevant digression:
Marc had wonderful plans for purpose-built furnishings for the studio at the other house but unfortunately became ill and passed away before he could realise most of them, so I ended up with a cobbled together bunch of hand-me-downs and I guess I just stopped seeing them after a while.
When I moved here three years ago, I had plans to convert the carport into a studio space so everything sort of got plonked down in this area as a 'temporary measure' and just ... stayed.
functional? mostly
attractive? not so much
but I'm sure you all know how that is - you live with what you have
I decided recently that the space needed reorganising and that I was allowed to treat myself to some decent furniture [ shock! horror! ]

Anyway, if you come in that door - this is what's directly ahead of you:
to the right [ no photo] is what used to be the dining room and is now the loungeroom/livingroom/seating area/what-have-you and to the left?
Well first and foremost are my birthday and Christmas present to myself in the form of three new bookcases.
I just love them.
My vintage machines are now down out of the shed [ well some of them ]
My quilt books are back in the working space
oh is there anything better than having enough bookcases?
well yeah there probably is, but this is still pretty spiffy :]
and yes, I do realise that's only two but you'll see the other in a sec
See? There it is!
It's a 3' wide one and the others are 4'
Down the centre of the room are two of the three 4' square tables that Marc made for the last house. Eventually I'd like to get the third one back in here with an as yet unmade fourth so that I could have an 8' work area ... one day ... it's on the list right after learning Esperanto.
The design wall is just some caneite particle board laid against the wall. Getting it framed and properly wall mounted is also on the list after learning Esperanto.

oh and through that wee door is the room where the fabric stash lives - mistakenly thought to be a study by the previous owner.

This is the view through the front window which is usually a bit obscured by the presence of the ironing board - which got put in the stash room over Christmas ... we will now pause for Nadie to adjust to the idea that I can, and have, moved [ but not put down ] the ironing board, ... and these? are the two pieces that I am contemplating starting and we may talk more of them tomorrow

Friday, January 11, 2008

Friday Fotos

I just love the way that it's bound ... heavily textured. It doesn't just LOOK like scrunched fabric, it IS scrunched fabric.

In case you hadn't guessed, this is one of the books I acquired on my Girls Day Out with Hope and Mandy last week. It's about form and process in contemporary Japanese textile.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

What I learned today

This is the equivalent of one of those godawful " What I Did On My Summer Holidays" essays that we all had to write the first week back at school each year.
So lets get it over with before I come to my senses.
Well the most important thing that I learned today is that, if one has opened up all the windows and doors to try to attract an errant breeze overnight, then it is fairly important that one also CLOSES all of the said windows and doors well in advance of the thermometer hitting 40 C/104F
Failure to do this to even one window results in a house that resolutely resists any attempts at staying cool and which, by the time said open window is discovered, has an internal temp not much lower than the external one.
[ in my defense the open window was in Nadie's room and she's not up here this week so I forgot it was open ]

The other thing I [re] learned today is that cotton yarn, while not at all stretchy in and of itself, has an alarming tendency to stretch sideways when knitted or crocheted. The net result of which is that after several days of feverish crochet,
[ or more accurately: brain-on-migrainey-auto-pilot crochet ] I finished a Sweety Pie Cami, to the point where it could be tried on, and then promptly frogged it. I didn't even think to take a picture of it first.
I did think of that once I'd ripped out about 5" or so:
Anyway, I've restarted 4" narrower... four flipping inches...FOUR ... did I mention that it's four inches ??
and not a lot of progress because of the heat and also my wrist is sending me the 'electric spider' message that means 'quit for a while or else.'
Now that I come to think of it - typing: probably not a wise idea either !
that means I might have to just sit and watch Firefly DVDs

Sunday, January 06, 2008

yes I know!

Okay so I've been missing in action.
In my defense, did you really need another week of " God it's still stinking hot" posts?
so yes... it's still stinking hot. South of the Divide apparently it's quite nice but up here ? HOTHOTHOTHOTHOT.
Queensland and parts of New South Wales have been declared a state of emergency because of flooding and here it's dry as the proverbial bone and hotter than hades.
Add to that I've had an on-and-off migraine for a week. I'd thank God for modern pharmaceuticals except I ran out last night.
Today was not nice.
On the plus side,
David has been away on a 'camp' with his social group so at least he was somewhere with AirCon for four days
... and what did I do with all that free time?
see above re heat and migraine!
so not a lot.

Except for yesterday.
The migraine having been firmly beaten into submission, I awaited the arrival of Mandy and her friend Hope plus five of their kidlets. That's Mandy on the right.
I never cease to be amazed by the power of the Internet. It brings friends that I've never met before IRL and I instantly feel comfortable with them.
especially when they bring goodies like some of Mandy's beautiful hand dyed 22 micron merino.
Doesn't that look almost good enough to eat?
The Christmas House was duly admired by the littlies, goats petted and then we hopped into the cars for a trip to Daylesford and the delights of Purl's Palace.
Did I mention that the girls had driven in all that heat with all the kids from the Goulburn Valley?? That's 2 hours driving, plus another 40 odd to get from my place to Daylesford. God those two are superwomen... or insane... I haven't decided which yet
Anyway, after a quick lunch at an appropriately child friendly fishandchippie we proceeded to Purl's Palace.
I has birthday and Christmas present money to spend so where better?
Yarn was fondled [ and purchased but not by me ] books perused - a couple of nice Japanese ones came home with me - and Zoe was duly hugged.
After we got back, the kids took it in turns giving Ruby her bottle and primed with candy canes departed for the long drive home about 10 minutes before David arrived back.
Anyway, I'm afraid this disjointed ramble is about the best I can offer today. Brain still not working too well. I don't do well in the heat even without the added fun of the migraine. Just wanted to let you all know that I was still here.
... and yes I know it's January 6th and the decorations should be coming down but may I direct your attention to all of the above re heat and migraine?
I've packed the kitchen up and that's as far as I've got today.
I'll change all the china and bits and bobs back tomorrow. For now, I'm going to sit in front of the portable A/C that the lovely Mandy brought down with her, and watch tv.
There might even be some yarn fondling and manipulation..
cotton of course
I'm not totally insane.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

this is getting tired!

A Happy [hot] New Year to you and yours
the heatwave continues - although I'm told that south of The Divide will get a mild break today - and it has just hit 42.2 / 107.9 which would be bearable if the aircon was working
9pm update - it got to 42.9 / 108.2