Saturday, March 29, 2008

status quo


Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Did we skip a season?

I just saw the overnight forecast
Great googlie mooglies - it's going to get down to 4 degreesC [ ETA: yup it got down to 3.5C and was 4 when I had breakfast ]

and yes,yes,yes, before any of you that are currently living the snow bound life on the other side of the planet chip in, yes, I know that probably doesn't strike you as particularly cold
but just bear in mind that less than 2 weeks ago we were still getting temps around 38C / 100F every day.
So it's all about being acclimated.
Which we are not

and of course there is the problem of whether the recently hypothermic Ms Rosie will cope with a cold snap [ she has a very sparse, short coat and currently no body fat reserves ]
When she was ill and not moving much, I could keep her goat coat on her but now - well can you say 'lost cause'?

on the plus side there has been about an inch of rain over the last three days.

and now with no hope of a halfway decent segue, we have an official FO and an almost FO
Rainbow Hat was started yesterday to use up some leftover Moda Vera Susan [!!!] that was going to be a beret for friend Robyn a couple of winters ago until I saw something else that I thought would work better ... and for the life of me I can't remember what I did with the rest of it but I must've done something because it wasn't a full ball...

anyway because it has mohair in the mix which none of us will wear - which is odd when you remember that I snuggle up to goats on a regular basis - the yarn has just sat in the stash, so now it's a happy little hat and will go to the first person who needs it. It may get donated but really, I just love the idea of carrying hat or booties or whathaveyou in the bottom of my bag and gifting them to the first babe I see with bare feet or head.

4.5mm circs and dpns
no pattern
size - probably about 6months

and I just realised that you hadn't seen a progress shot of the Surplice Baby Jacket since just after I started itand it's been at this stage for a couple of weeks now.
Baby-that-it's-for is overdue and once he/she arrives, I'll pick up the live stitches at the sleeves and knit contrast cuffs in either hot pink or bright aqua, and then finish with matching buttons.

I've also finished a pair of hot pink booties but forgot to take a pic so you'll get them tomorrow maybe. They are the same Saartje's Booties that I've made about a dozen pair of, so you probably don't need photos... and I've just found out that it's pronounced 'Sarkyie' which is nothing LIKE how I was saying it in my head.

early morning visitor

wings vibrating slightly
perhaps to dry the early morning dew
and then away
to hide from avid avian eyes
on the bark of a gum tree

dasypodia selenophora aka granny moth or old lady moth

Monday, March 24, 2008


Yesterday, instead of Easter eggs and the usual huge Italian family Easter feast, I sat in a hospice and held the hand of my dying brother-in-law, knowing that, because I live 2 hours away, I probably won't get to see him again... that when I said goodbye, it WAS goodbye.

I'm not saying any more about that

This morning I sat on the verandah just after sunrise, with breakfast, book and cat, and drank in the [relative] silence along with my chai ... the only sounds were the early birds talking to each other of wormy things and the snuffles of contented [fed] goats.

Easter is about death but also about life, rebirth, renewal and for now my balance is restored.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

My Daughter the Easter Egg

Nadie is not one to do things by half so when she committed to colour her hair to raise funds for the Leukaemia Foundation, she was serious about it.
First she had to bleach her normal very dark brunette to blonde so that it would take the colour

which meant it needed to recover for a couple of weeks before letting loose this weekend:
The Boy likes it!!
anyway, if you feel this effort is worthy of recognition, it's not too late to make a donation no matter how small

Nadie isn't the only one dyeing for the cause
JeJeune is now an interesting shade of purple

Friday, March 21, 2008

taking it slow

there is


and grace

in simplicity

in basics

in making

in creating something purely from the work of my hands, my heart and my head

enough of the zen - my first finished object made from my very own hand spun.
Every lump
every bump
every irregularity
it's mine
and I made it

the Yarn Harlot's One Row Handspun Scarf
5.5mm needles
" knit until you run out of yarn"

this took about 214 metres

started knitting on tuesday [ march 18]
finished this morning and then washed and blocked

the yarn is slightly underspun in places so it's very soft and cushy [ but may pill like buggery but you can't have everything]

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Happy Berfday Baby [ again ]

Due no doubt to some strange compression of the space time continuum, my firstborn celebrates his 33rd birthday today. I'm not sure where those 33 years went.

Happy Birthday Stephen
[that's him in the middle with Nadie and David]
I do rather like this person you're growing into and I'm sure your father would as well.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Monday, March 17, 2008

more quirky fun facts about goat husbandry

This one possibly comes under the heading of 'Too Much Information' but hey, you can always stop reading, right ?
Around 4 am on Saturday morning, Miss Rosie decided to let me know in no uncertain terms that all the medication, the TLC, the hormone shots, etc were working... and how did she do this I hear you asking?
Well, my dears, by bellowing and bleating her head off in a manner that suggested very strongly that she has begun to ... ahem... 'cycle' again.
I might not necessarily have put 2 and 2 together immediately as I pried my eyelids apart, struggled into some shoes and slogged up to the goathouse, but once I got up there, to be greeted by the sight of her up on her hind legs - this from the goat who couldn't even stand up a mere 2 weeks ago - attempting to climb the wire fence, with accompanying bleating and tail wagging, I knew.

The bellowing beginning to emanate from the direction of Blackadder's paddock over at PND's kinda reinforced the message.

I didn't really want her to hurt herself on the fence, so she was let out and Ruby and Rowan were stuck in the slammer instead.

Saturday was spent being serenaded by the goaty version of "Love Is In The Air" as Ms Rosie wore a track up and down the side fence. She wouldn't even budge for water or food so I made her a little picnic bucket.

About dinnertime BND came over with some stale bread for the girls, having just come from feeding Blackie...

and you can probably guess what's coming ...

Rosie sprinted over, gave her a quick sniffing and proceeded to snuggle up to any part of Brenda that she could reach.
No bleating.
Tail wagging yes, but no blessed bleating.
so at something approaching the speed of light, I went next door armed with a damp handtowel and gave Blackie a good rubdown and then carried the smelly, dusty, disgusting object home in triumph.

She's been quietly snuggling with her 'lovey' ever since.

and completely off topic:
this is what Blueberry looked like after her bath - pretty yes?

Sunday, March 16, 2008

So Is This REALLY Me??

Take this test!
Like a meticulous collector, you've fed your brain a unique set of facts and figures over the years. Words, numbers, you've got it all. That's what makes you a Facts Curator.

Whether or not you intend to absorb every piece of information that comes your way, your mind has certain steel-trap qualities to it. You are a knowledge sponge. You have almost enough words in your head to fill a dictionary, and you're equally adept when it comes to manipulating numbers. You can also detect important patterns in number sequences, and probably remember the mnemonic devices you were taught in grade school.

You may feel comfortable in classroom settings where absorbing details is critical. You're also able to learn from example and piece together all the little facts in life to get to the big picture. That's why you never stop accumulating information as you walk through life.

Your strengths lie in both the verbal and math realms — placing you in the same arena as someone like Bill Gates. Gates has the ability to not only store and retrieve an especially large amount of specialized data, but to translate and present that information to the population at large. His entire empire is based on this unique talent. And to think — your brain works in this same way! When it comes right down to it, you and other Facts Curators can ride a wave of information to live a truly enriched life.

I tested at 135 IQ which is a few points lower than I normally do but I'm making allowances for the heat and the fact that I rushed the test... and here's the thing about standard IQ tests... There's nothing in there to measure the creative side of my makeup. There's nothing in the description above that's untrue per se, but I don't think I'm that person. Not even remotely.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Take some of this...

... and a little of this

add some twist

and again

and you get


specs for those who care about such things:

fibres - Bendigo Woollen Mills Readyspin in Delta [ the slightly mauve blue] - merino maybe - and unlabelled purple/aubergine roving - looks hand dyed or painted - given to me with the Ashford by the always lovely Lisette

worsted spun on the Sheridan MacArthur and plied without benefit of the Lazy Kate, cos it's off having R & R [ rest and restoration ] at Chris and Maz's.
Having the spools flying around on the floor is probably not best guarantee of anything remotely resembling even tension so I'm going to try the "spools threaded on knitting needles poked through a cane basket" approach with the next lot ... which I would've done this time if I'd thought of it ... but that's what happens when you do stuff on a scorching hot day when you have a slightly under-medicated migraine.

anyway it's on the NiddyNoddy so I'll come back with another photo once it has a bath/set and we'll see if I got away with the somewhat random plying

finished weight averages out to somewhere around sock weight with occasional deviations into 4ply/fingering.

Readyspin is an apt although incredibly boring name, but it's gorgeous, gorgeous stuff to work with IMHO. Drafts out like a cloud.
It was about $32 a KILO [ that's 2.2 lbs ] at the Mill.
Compare it to similar stuff on Ebay for $6 -$8 per 100 grams. Scary if one actually stops to work out the equivalent per kilo price of $60 - $80 but I guess it all comes down to how much of a particular fibre you want. A kilo is a heck of a lot and I would have to factor in the petrol if that was the only reason for the trip to Bendigo.

btw if you're still with me

I'm still migrainey-braindead so if you have a better naming suggestion I'll be happy to entertain the notion. I might even give it wine-and-nibblies.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Free pattern Friday : Frothy Gothy Wristwarmers

just for April:

Edited to add:
I'm adding some notes at the end of the pattern to allow you to customise to different yarns, lengths, gauges etc.

Frothy Gothy Wristwarmers

based on my Garter lace Mittens

1 x 50 gram ball of any DK [ 8 ply or sport ] yarn that will yield a gauge of 22 stitches to 4" over stocking/stockinette stitch. Exact gauge isn't hugely important but close is good!

1 pair 4mm / US size 5 /UK size 8 needles

Cast on 32 stitches for a short pair - you can make them longer by casting on more. Try 42 or even 52

Row1: k to last 4 stitches, YO, k2tog,YO,k2
Rows 2 -9 Repeat row 1 [ stitch count will increase by 1 stitch per row ]

Row 10: cast off [ bind off] 5 stitches, k to last 4 stitches, YO, k2tog, YO, k2

Row 11: repeat row 10
this establishes the pattern - repeat rows 2 - 11

Repeat from** to ** until you have 5 points on each side of the garter stitch strip or number necessary to fit around wrist ending with row 10

Cast off/ bind off instead of doing row 11.

Seam long edge leaving 2 inches unseamed. This allows the lace to splay out over the back of your hand.

this one hasn't been test knitted yet - so let me know if you pick up any errors.

Additional notes:
Because these are constructed side to side , and only the last 4 stitches of each row affect the pattern, you can change the number of stitches to suit yourself, making the gauntlet longer or shorter.
Just work out the length you want them to finish and multiply by the gauge that you are getting PER INCH in your desired yarn.
If you think about what is happening, you are adding 2 stitches [ the YOs ] in each row but only decreasing once, so the stitch count goes up by 1 in each row and you get a pair of lacy holes. I'm putting 5 sets of these offset lace holes at each end, so therefore there is a corresponding pair of 'cast off 5' - one at each end - before starting again. If you look at my Garter Lace Mittens, it's basically the same pattern but with 4 pairs of holes, adding 4 to the stitch count and therefore requiring 'cast off 4'.

Most of you won't need, or want, to know how this stuff works but it's here in case you do.

and of course:
this pattern is copyright 2008 S.Iacuone for personal and charity use only.
For any other use please contact me.
Knew you'd do the right thing :]

Thursday, March 13, 2008

a couple of FOs that slipped through the net

the problem with being on Ravelry sometimes is that [ apart from it being just about the biggest time-suck ever ] I think I've posted about certain projects here on the Blog when in fact, I haven't.
So here's a couple that have sneaked through the net since the start of the year:
- two slightly different versions of the Fisherman's Rib hat from a recent Cleckheaton book. I started the mauve one in Country Silk, thinking I had 2 balls in the stash, realised it was only one, and found someone on Ravelry who was willing to swap a ball for some Bendy 8ply cotton. Well, of course, while I waited for it to arrive, I started a second one, just in some Magnum variegated blue acrylic again from the stash, and with a button down ponytail conversion at the back for Nadie. It's sized to fit well down over the eyebrows and ears and the top isn't really pointy.

The colour in the photo is way off. it's actually the same yarn as in the Frothy Gothy Wristwarmers.
Then I went back and finished the first one, which was duly given to Ms Beryl last week.

BTW Cleckheaton Book 956 is fabulous because all of the hats, socks and so on are given in 4 sizes from baby to adult. Kudos to whoever it was at ACS that made that decision

Actually when I started looking back at the Feb and March archives, I realised that I had missed more than 'a couple':

There was another BSJ done in almost exactly 24 hours [ insomnia] and a premmie one from the leftovers.
I don't think I showed you the finished [ overdyed] version of the Lacy Nightie in Cleckheaton Bamboo either. Not that it's really anything approaching a nightie. I made it longer than called for in the pattern and it's still just a cami. Back view photo truer for colour.

I'll catch you up on this week tomorrow.

Rosie continues her slow slow slow progress back to health. I still have her confined in the goat shed because Rowan is still disputing that she is, in fact, weaned.
As the weather has been scorching and is set to continue the same for at least the next three days [ 38C forecast tomorrow through Sunday ] I have been spending considerable effort lugging pails of water up to the shed and forcing her to drink them.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Moomba Monday Mutterings

It's a long weekend here in Victoria, and what that means for me and mine is that David is kinda bored and I'm still in my jammies at 3pm on a Monday afternoon with a current temp of 36.5C or just shy of 100F. All humans and animals have been adequately fed and watered but otherwise, I'm having a day off.

We'll be going to Daylesford at 6pm because I have a Clogging class to teach...
in theory.
I'm not convinced that anyone is going to show up because there was no class last week and I don't remember whether we confirmed two weeks ago that there would be a class tonight.
Anyway, if no one else turns up we will, at the very least, have had a nice drive in an air conditioned car and a visit to the [wait for it, wait for it ]

Coles supermarket
oh the giddy life I lead :]

and as there may be some individuals possessed of an overly highly developed olfactory ability who might not deem the lingering and 'delicate' air of Eau-de-Goat-after-a-Hot-Day to be the most attractive of scents to impose on others ... and I am nothing if not sensitive to the needs of those around me ... there will be a modicum of showering-and-fresh-clothes before venturing out

and in a fairly tenuous goat related segue

Rowan and Ruby are 6 months old today

so a Happy Half-Birthday to my babies

Rowan is no longer so white - she has little spots of butterscotch on her ears and sort of a wash of colour in other places and is obviously going to be a much bigger goat than Ruby [ in fact she's currently doing a very Robbyn-like impersonation of a beached whale ]
Ms Ruby The Petite is not as red as when she was born - she's paled down a bit to that same butterscotch and white, and just recently has started to develop little black streaks near her eyes - becoming more pronounced by the day

Anyhoo, as well as playing with goats, I've made a start on the EZ Baby Surplice from that Vogue Knitting that I got last week and it could possibly go to my friend Robyn's soon to arrive first grandbaby. Once I know if she's a her, or he's a him, I'll add afterthought cuffs and the buttons in hot pink or aqua
... and IMHO it's a much simpler knit than the BabySurpriseJacket - although that could be just because I've done the BSJ a few times now and could see where EZ was heading with this one.

- there has also been some more spinning but this was semi-cheat-spinning.
Not so long ago, I was offered about 20 balls of vintage Twilleys Aztec in red that turned out to be a very orange-red and it's one of those unplied yarns that's a bit like a hand spun single. So I spun up the very last orange/white/blue bits of Mandie's roving and plied it with one ball of the Aztec just to see what would happen.
The Aztec is a bit coarse - not exactly something to just keep as a pet and to fondle occasionally.
I suppose that I shall have to actually MAKE something with it
... maybe a felted cat bed? or a French Market Bag ?

so apart from the migraine that interfered with my enjoyment of Friday night/Saturday, that's pretty much how I spent my long weekend...
some cat cuddling
minimal housework and catering
all good

[eta: as it transpired, there were three of us at class, plus Ted, the genial, elderly gent who does the music, and David who sat and watched his DVD. Jan, Karen and I had a really good workout and without any of the beginners there - much as you do need beginners to keep a class viable - we fitted in a lot more than usual
AND got to the supermarket before it closed
AND apparently Chill Out - a huge gay pride type of event - in Daylesford on the weekend, featured the Rainbow Cloggers from Melbourne. So now a whole lot more Daylesford folk know what Clogging looks like!!

Saturday, March 08, 2008

just a reminder

I pinched this from nadie's blog:

Shave for a Cure

I'd like to take a moment to talk to you about something serious.

After many years of saying I'm going to do it, but leaving it to late, I am finally taking part in the World's Greatest Shave, an annual event to raise money for leukaemia, lymphoma and related conditions. While I have not had much experience with these particular types of cancer, I know how devastating they can be for those affected. Cancer is a very personal issue for me, and I'll do what I can to help find a cure. My hope is that advances towards a cure for specific types may help advance the cause for others.

Money raised will directly help patients and their families, as well as fund research for better treatments and cures, so please dig deep. You can sponsor me online at my shave page, and also see before and after photos, leave comments, etc. I know some of you may have misgivings about making donations online but please rest assured that it is a very secure, professional site. I'll put the link in the side bar as well so that you won't have to dig up this post if you get back to it later.

The event itself runs from the 13th to the 15th of March, so please donate before then. If you can't spare much, that's OK, but remember every little bit helps.

Thank you.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Friday Fotos, Rosie update and local dramas

drought? what drought?

new clock [ obviously] for the Big Room

gratuitous cute cat with the most gorgeous, smooshy,yummy amethyst Astrakhan yarn [ alapaca/ superfine merino ] ... 6 balls of it... SIX ...which was given to me by the outgoing editor of Yarn magazine, who must have the most phenomenal memory in the history of the world, because how the hell she just happened to remember that I like purple in my yarn if not my prose ... well, I have no idea but anyway ... huge thanks Barb.
I promise to make something noice/uneweshewl/different with it

This is what I did with the rest of Mandy's handpainted merino after I'd used up all the pink roving on the yarn for Beryl. I had some deep orange to ply it with and it's not the biggest skein around but I think there's probably enough there for some little bootees or a cap.

There was also quilting this week - no... please... don't all faint -
I finished the little runner/wallhanging sample for my beginners' class - and gave it to Zoe without getting a photo so you'll just have to trust me on that
and I spent yesterday at Daylesford teaching the Anjii's Angles technique to the girls at the Spa Quilters group. The eponymous Anjii Solomon is a good friend of mine and I made three of the quilts for her book, so I get to teach it with her permission. There's a link to her website in the sidebar if you'd like to order the book or check out the Gallery. I realised on the way home that I hadn't taken the Tyger quilt with me but they got to see it last week I guess ... oh dopey me :[
Still I had about 10 finished quilts with me including no less than 3 Queen-sized ones so I don't think anyone noticed.

and I finally got my hands on a copy of the Spring 2007 Vogue Knitting with THIS in it ... a 'new' Elizabeth Zimmermann pattern - sort of a crossover version of the classic BSJ, and definitely in my to-do queue

Ms Rosie continues to improve. Alan the wonder-vet has taken her off the B Complex shots, although she'll be having hormone shots [ Stanisol ] for a while yet and still has to have the blood replacement stuff daily for another 6 weeks or so. Talk about the six million dollar goat !
but she's worth every cent of it.

and to finish off with the aforementioned local drama:

Brenda next door fainted in the bathroom on the weekend, knocked herself out, gashed her head and came to, covered in blood, and too weak to make herself heard by the family that were socialising at the other end of the house, so had the presence of mind to grab the bedroom extension and dial 000 [ like 911] and ask for the police, who then called back, waited for Pete to answer and told him what was going on so he could haul her off for 6 stitches.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

found the camera!!

Sorry for the infrequent postings minus photos this week but I 'misplaced' the camera last Thursday after the Beginners' hand patchwork class at Daylesford... just found it, so here we go ...
and we come to a screeching halt while my addled brain tries to reconstruct what it's been a party to this week.
Ms Rosie is making progress every day, hates the injections but is otherwise fine. She was a bit cold and dejected first thing this morning because she'd managed to loose her goat coat aka old blanket, and was a bit damp and dewy. She'll be right though. I'll be off to the Vet in about an hour to pick up her hormone injection for this week so I'm going to be doubly disliked this arvo
my first skein of yarn now has a couple of siblings
and third
my BFF Beryl has been over from Tassie for the last week or two attending the Australian Quilters Conference in Melbourne, and then visiting rellies in South Oz, so she has managed to fit in Monday to Thursday morning with me on her way back to Melbourne. This is a gooooooooood thing.
So Monday was general catching upping, including the handing over of THIS which she'd ordered on my behalf, and this from her late mother's stash by way of her sister in Sydney:
and the presentation of this which I made specially for the Queen of Hot Pink: one ply each of hot pink roving I inherited with the wheel from Felicity and handpainted from Mandy at Ewe Give Me The Knits
barely dry and hot off the wheel/niddy noddy

Yesterday we hit Bendigo and Beryl says we went a little silly at Spotshite [ Big Souless Craft Chain Store ] but I think that we were fairly restrained actually.
For example, I didn't purchase any yarn even though the whole Yarn Bee range was being thrown out at $1.99. I call that restraint.
... and from the dozens and dozens of really quite choice bolts at $8m I culled down to only THREE and one of them is for a gift anyway...
Okay, Ms Beryl did buy a few more than three but that's between her and her bank balance.
There were quite a few that I would've bought without hesitation only a couple of years ago but I had to admit that I probably didn't need them for the type of quilts I make these days... but oh, they were NICE

Next stop was a little more deadly : the magic back room of special discounts at Bendigo Woollen Mills ... and there is the slightest, vaguest, teeny weeniest possibility that all the hard won resolve went flying out the window...
probably don't need to say much more, do I?
Nadie, how does lovely soft wool/alpaca blend in purple sound for a certain pair of Marquise gauntlets? Hmm?