Thursday, July 31, 2008

if you're here for the puppy, he's at the end

Do you have any idea how difficult it is to get a decent photo of something knitted in black yarn?
by which I mean in focus, with crisp stitch definition, AND something remotely resembling the actual black
not a washed-out grey
not charcoal
actual black [ yeah fuzzy pic but the best I could manage ]

If the answer was no - well, consider yourself lucky

but knowing the difficulty doesn't ever seem to stop me from using black on a semi regular basis

take this week

I'm still working on the cardi in that red angora that Kay gave me but I needed a break from the fluffy little beggars that kept jumping ship and trying to set up an alternative residence in my eyes, nose and/or mouth

so why not knock out a nice, quick and easy improvised beret?

Might as well use that single ball of black Patons Smoothie
ahh yes
Patons Smoothie
a yarn I will never willingly buy again.
I do have a ball of ivory sitting there and one day it may turn into something but I can't ever see myself walking into the LYS and thinking " ooh there's some more of that Smoothie - must get some"

... not even if it's on special
...for 50cents a ball even

If you GAVE me some ... well okay ... I'd find a use for it, but I don't know if we'd still be amigos afterwards...

do you now have a sense of how much I hated working with this stuff?

When I bought it, I was looking for something soft and smooshy and suitable for a baby beanie [ used something else in the end but that's just bye the bye ] and the woman in the LYS talked me into this stuff. Never again. Yes, it IS smooth but not really all that soft and is made up of 6 separate strands loosely twisted - notice I didn't say 'plied'- around each other to make a DK [ sport / 8 ply] yarn

... can we say "splitty"? 4mm needles
the yarn you already know about
1x1 rib and then alternate bands of stocking[stockinette] stitch and moss[seed] stitch
if you don't factor in the yarn

and the


so here's some cuteness overload to balance all that negativity

Sunday, July 27, 2008

how can you tell?

why yes we DO have a new puppy ... why do you ask?

Saturday, July 26, 2008

What didn't happen this week

As I didn't have the camera this week, clearly nothing blogworthy was allowed to happen ...

-I definitely didn't waste time and petrol driving 45 km each way to Daylesford on Monday night through rain and fog to have ONE dance student turn up
-I mustn't have gone to quilting on Wednesday [ and clearly therefore, Marcie, knowing me to be camera-less, could NOT have brought her camera in case of photo op ]
-equally I cannot have had an early morning phone call from Tara to ask if she and the kidlets could come for a visit on Thursday, and therefore I cannot have missed the chance to show Tara's single mindeness in knitting while standing up at my kitchen bench, nor the sight of her wee Sorsha toddling up and down my hallway while crooning to a vintage pram full of dollies and teddies.

In the absence of documentary evidence, these things clearly just did not happen

Neither did I knit on the red angora cardie pretty much all the way down to Melbourne on the 9 o'clock train yesterday to see Nadie's orthodontist, instead of the original plan which was to knit pretty much all the way down on the 9 0'clock train to visit the big Quilt and Craft Show at Jeff's Shed ... and I certainly didn't find myself [ along with a whole lot of other folks ] on a train to Hurstbridge, when WE were all under the clearly erroneous impression that we had changed at Southern Cross to the train to Glen Waverley ... and therefore we can't possibly have gotten off at the first opportunity , trouped over to the other platform, gone BACK into Flinders Street, and waited for the next train, which in my case could not have allowed me to proceed to where Nadie could pick me up on the fly with about 1 minute to spare.

Although, if all that didn't happen, I'm at a loss to explain the photos from the train on the way back to Castlemaine in the afternoon, having reclaimed the camera from my DD.

oh and you can tell that Sophie and Bear are just not getting on at all, right?

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

textile alert

Check out Olivia's Blog for pictures of her sister Demelza's current exhibition which is on at IMP Gallery above the Greville Street Bookstore in Prahran [ Melbourne ] until the 27th of this month.
It features hand stitched portraits on vintage linens.
The way they are displayed possibly doesn't do them justice - mainly white pieces floating lost against bare white walls - but DO click to enlarge them and have a really good look. Just wonderful.

and if you're in a position to go see them before Sunday, don't forget that the Gallery is only open in the afternoons 12 - 5

and in totally unrelated news, you may have noticed that there is a new blog award over there on the side bar ... I'm supposed to keep it moving along but I have to have a thunk about this, so tomorrow - maybe.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Castlemaine landmark

this rather imposing Edwardian ediface placed near the corner of Victory Park no longer serves the purpose for which it was erected in 1915 - namely to house a ...

wait for it ... wait for it

... public drinking fountain!!

it also catered for horses

and even man's best friend was not forgotten

Monday, July 21, 2008

macropodal alert and news of an alarming development

I might even go so far as 'RATS!!' [ can you tell I'm not really big with the major expletives ?]
ETA** darn it all to heck
** as suggested by Sheepie
the time: 7.45 am
the place: my garden
the reason: Bear toilet stop

and what do we see hopping lazily up the driveway and then across towards the other neighbour's - the one that isn't PND-and-Brenda - and up to the top of the hill?

a smallish [female probably] kangaroo, that's what ... not a wallaby ... the wrong build and too tall - maybe 5 feet if it was standing up straight ...

We're in the bush , they're all over the place, so why the excitement?? Well, y'see, I DO get to see 'em on a regular basis, generally when I'm driving and trying to avoid a macropodal collision, and some folks consider 'em major pests, but this is the first one I've actually witnessed HERE here, on the old homestead, Chez Catsmum, and pest or not, they are so beautiful...
and my IRL friends [ Marcie, Janine, I mean YOU ] are probably laughing their heads off at my 'oh golly gosh' newbie enthusiasm but you need to understand that until less than four years ago, I had always lived in suburban Melbourne. If we wanted to see kangas we had to drive to the Zoo or the Healesville Sanctuary.

Granted Chris thought he saw a wallaby up the top of the hill in aught six but I missed it

Okay where's the camera? do I have time to race in and grab it ? I'd better put Bear inside anyway in case he barks and scares it away before I can get a photo ... oh bugger bugger bugger!!! I've left the bloody camera at Nadie's last night. At least I hope I have, cos it sure ain't here.

so there will be no photos from yesterday's trip down to Melbourne or for the rest of the week until I see her on Friday
oh noes! how will I survive without my camera ?

I do have several sets of blogworthy pics socked away against such an eventuality so the blog won't be going to bare print just yet but can I survive the separation?

"she'll be lost without that little silver thing but at least there won't be any flashing lights for a few days"

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Sheep and Wool part two

Jeanette and I [ sans Maz this year ] arrived at the Showgrounds a bit after 10am, parked outside for the princely sum of $3 and carefully negotiated our way inside, through cars and elderly kamikaze pedestrians, all vying for the same narrow bit of laneway. People were lined up out into the traffic...a recipe for disaster with several vision impaired seniors completely oblivious of the danger that they were in.

... anyway, paid our $15 and headed inside ... first and nearest: the woolcraft sheds which is where the various guilds are set up and the displays of the winning entries are housed.
I didn't even try to get photos of the entries this year... glass cases and bright lights equals flare and glare... so you'll just have to take my word for it that some of the stuff was gobsmackingly gorgeous, especially in the lace sections, and some was frankly a bit ordinary.
Anyway, who did we see [ and hug ] first? Mandie from Ewe Give Me the Knits and Donni who was sharing her stall in the first shed. Two hugs for the price of one! Totally failed to get a photo of Mandie, or Donyale either
Of course I HAD to buy something from EGMTK, so I chose some pearlescent lavender merino/bamboo mix. It looks a bit pinkish in this pic but trust me... palest pale lavender with a sheen that I have totally failed to capture here.
I would also have been equally happy with the merino/soy which was sooooo cloud soft that you just wanted to roll around in it buck nekkid, but managed to restrain my baser impulses because it was too bloody cold.
I also scored some beautiful variegated blue merino from the Spinners and Weavers Guild stall, and a hand painted silk 'cap' from Virginia Farm Woolworks. That and a back issue of Interweave Crochet plus an 'overpriced but quite good' coffee was it for me for the day. Granted I could've easily spent a lot lot more, but what with the recent dental bills, and then the gelt that I had to give the car fixin' fella on Wednesday ...well, I just set my limit of $50 including $15 entrance fee, and I stuck to it. So my shopping was finished before we even got to the two huge halls housing the main vendor area.

Hang on ... what's that scritching sound I hear? Oh! Right! That's Sheepie sharpening her best Ode-Writing Quill in order to pen hymns of praise to my steely self restraint.

Moving on before I get too depressed over all the lovely stuff I failed to drag home with me, the rest of the day was spent
interacting with various species of ruminant as documented yesterday

talking to various woodturners
and spinners
and goat persons

meeting up with lovely Lynne, another regular visitor to the blog [ originally I wrote occasional but I stand corrected ] and her equally lovely but under-the-weather daughter Susan, seen here trying to concentrate on the fashion show
[ Lynne says that her Susan and I are the same person in two bodies, so the poor love is probably quaking in her boots round about now, having had the scary vision of the person she may well morph into in about 30 years time ]

and also a couple of Ravelry friends, Tara aka FiestyWench, [ whose gorgeous fingerless gloves scored in a Ravelry swap these are ] and Lisa otherwise known as NakedPippi, who closed her eyes for the photo so you don't get to meet her
This is Tara trying on my handspun beret:
and in a related aside ... you will all remember those goodies that I have acquired recently, right? Lynne very kindly added to them with a shoebox FULL of postcards for my collection which she had dragged along with her all the way from Penrith in New South Wales and all round the Showgrounds... which, given the fact that the box weighed over a kilo, was quite an undertakingI've done a quick look-through-and-happy-dance ... will sit down properly and sort them out in a day or so, but so far I haven't seen a single one that I already have !!

so all in all a bloody ripper of a day even if I was on a budget and a tight time line!

Friday, July 18, 2008

Friday Fotos : Bendigo Sheep and Wool Show part one

My brain is still reeling from the visual and aural overload of four frantic, fabulous hours at the Australian Wool and Sheep Show with Jeanette and a rotating cast of thousands, so I'm just going to give you some of the photos that don't require anything much in the way of comments

... okay, I lied ... ONE comment ... can I just say that if I had $500 or so to spare for one of this fella's [ pet grade ] offspring, then Rosie, Ruby, Robbyn and Rowan would soon be sharing Casa Caprine with a new friend ... This is the divine Dante

tomorrow I'll deal with people and purchases

and Bear survived without me just fine although the same cannot be said for various tissues and rolls of loo paper and one poor, defenceless cushion

Thursday, July 17, 2008

spoilt brat [ picture heavy ]

I've been on the receiving end of an amazing amount of largesse over the last couple of weeks, so before I forget, it's time to document it and give appropriate thanks

- First, this wee embroidered purse was brought back from Dubai by Denise, who is one of my students
- these towels embroidered with Christmas designs made by the fair hand of my friend Jane [ with a little help from her you-beaut-whiz-bang embroidery machine and undoubtedly quality control tested by Ms Moggie ]

- Then there was this pincushion that Nadie and The Boy bought at a market up in Queensland somewhere - maybe Townsville - and it will be fairly obvious to all and sundry just why they thought she needed to come live here. I don't think that I can bring myself to stick pins in her though... just a little too much like a Ruby voodoo doll!
-an astonishingly detailed hand embroidered landscape from Corrie - stitched in a variation of traditional Chinese embroidery by a Vietnamese lady in Melbourne

-equally traditional Vietnamese Hill Tribe embroideries bought by my friend Robyne on her recent hiking holiday across Vietnam
-15 balls of a glorious fire engine red angora/ lambswool yarn that had caused serious eye problems for a quilting friend of mine [ she actually had to have surgery because the fibre had migrated inside her eyes causing ulceration - yeuck!!! ]
Her experience notwithstanding, free angora is free angora, so I started a Scalloped Waves Cardi with it last weekend. There's a pic of the in-progress project in the last post

and finally:
- a couple of weeks ago I arranged to buy 6 skeins of grey silk/alpaca from April and it arrived this week ... with a few unexpected little extras. The bag had been torn open in transit and re-taped so everything arrived covered in the shredded paper dust that lined the padded bag but it's all brushing off just fine. That's 3 balls of navy laceweight baby alpaca, KP wooden circular needles in 2.25mm [ a size I didn't have in my KP set yet ] a Colourwash Quilt book and a ball of beautiful red SWTC Therapi which is an amazing yarn made from 50% wool 20% silk and 30% jadeite [ that's stone, right?] and the cutest notecard with a pic of a gorgeous goaty girl ... April obviously knows me well

yes I DO know how spoilt I am, and yes, the thoughts behind each and every one of these wonderful pressies are totally totally appreciated.

thank you all

going off to fondle my yarn

only one more sleep until Jeanette and I go to the Wool and Sheep Show at Bendy

although given the $1500 I had to hand the car fixing fella yesterday, I don't think there'll be much in the way of purchases this year ... still ... lots of gorgeous sheepies and goaty girls and alpacas to admire and maybe pat. It's all good :]

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

relationship woes

It happens eventually in all new relationships. Those first nagging signs that perhaps you have differing sets of values and goals:

you like chai, he drinks milk
you like pajamas, he sleeps naked
you're vegetarian, he eats meat
you like cats, he ... is reserving judgement

and sometimes it's even more fundamental issues than mere likes and dislikes:

Yes, I'm afraid Bear and I are having a slight difference of opinion as to what constitutes an acceptable chew toy.

Among the more contentious items are:

any and all phone and computer cords
my good tape measure
the toes of my brown cowdy boots
my skirt/shirt/jumper/elbow/earlobe
anything involving 'in-progress' fibre or yarn or the accoutrements thereof
library books
David's gloves and/or his toy wombat
Oakley's tail [ and I'll admit that I was too intent on averting carnage to grab the camera ]

semi acceptable items include:
the bottom half of my PJs
and my slippers

I'm sure we'll work it out and reconcile our opposing points of view ... eventually
on the plus side, however, the puppy training is coming along just fine:

I already know how to open the kitchen door when he needs to go to the toilet, and he has taught me that the 'sit-ever-so-cutely' when combined with 'The Look' means that I'm supposed to pick him up for a cuddle. I'm a fast learner!

oh, you thought that it was the puppy being trained?

2 more sleeps until the Australian Wool and Sheep Show at Bendigo

Saturday, July 12, 2008

a new quilt in the making and pupdate *

Bear officially came to live with us this afternoon and my life is no longer my own. Everywhere I go now I have a tiny black and white shadow. I even had to sneak away while the new 'baby' was asleep to upload these shots of the new quilt I'm playing with.
I'd forgotten how much clingier puppies are than kittens.

it was hysterical when I brought him home about 3 or 4 hours ago ... we started to walk back to my place and he was sooooooooooo cute, trotting along by my side, not ranging any more than a metre away from me ... until he saw the goats [ safely in their paddock and on the other side of the fence ] and then he turned tail and ran as fast as his little puppy legs would carry him all the way back to the fence line which is where I caught up with him and subsequently he was carried down the hill. Given that he's been running all over PND's place with its complement of goats and horses, I have to admit that I wasn't expecting that reaction.

As far as David and Bear are concerned I think the little visits of the last couple of days were the way to go. David seems quite sanguine about the whole situation. In fact the only incident has involved MissC jumping on Bear from table height. I have explained to her that this is not acceptable behaviour and she is currently sulking in her bedroom

...and he's just woken up again so I think that's it for this post

I don't expect that ANY of us are going to get a lot of sleep tonight.

* post title amended courtesy of Sheepish Annie, the clever little sod!