Monday, October 27, 2008

look who arrived while I was in Tassie

I'd like you all to meet Ruby and Rowan's new little half-brother, Lucky:
so called because BrendaND thinks the black marks along his spine look like a club, spade and heart, and also because he was the only one [ of four ] to survive from the two pregnancies.
Pete has now been told that Nubians are less hardy than the other breeds and I ran this idea past my goat guru Rosie, when I went to pick David up today. For what it's worth, she agrees ... says that she's only ever had two nubians and they were lovely animals but cost her a fortune in vet fees at kidding time.
Scarlett isn't interested in him at all, so Bear's mama, Misty, is treating the little guy as an extra puppy, complete with the tongue washing at both ends [ and all I'll say on that is: she better not lick me with that tongue ]
Here's Bear rather tentatively checking out the new member of the extended tribe
He sleeps in a hay filled tub in the laundry, coming out occasionally to play with the dogs and to follow Brenda around as she tends the garden.

Mr tough-guy Pete is still 'joking' about barbeques but somehow I think little Lucky is going to stay as a friend for his daddy, Blackadder... and the two boys are being entered in their first goat show this weekend in the Father-and-son class, so fingers crossed, okay ?

Sunday, October 26, 2008

I'm baa-aack

Because I wasn't really in a position to update the blog during the week, now I have the task of sorting through a mountain of experiences and impressions, and trying to produce something cogent from that.
I had hoped that being home for a day or so would help, but no ... still popping and fizzing and firing off random neurons.
total overload even though I didn't actually DO all that much.

so I'll start at the almost-end of the trip:

Beryl decided a while ago that she's not going to be doing much more knitting so her stash came home with me
Mind you, we did stalk, capture, and drag back to the cave, the pattern for a fabulous mitred jacket that a friend of hers was wearing on Wednesday, so I'm not sure that this "I'm-not-likely-to-knit-ever-again" thing is entirely true. Probably more of an "I'm-only-going-to-buy-yarn-one-project-at-a-time-and-not-have-a-wool-stash"
so here we have the Amazing Exploding Suitcase which weighed in at 19.8 kilos [ almost 44 pounds ] and a mere .2kg under the load limit.
Dragging this herniated behemoth along in my wake, with its piddly little wrist strap cutting off all feeling and circulation, has meant that I haven't picked up any knitting, crochet or quilting since I got home because I'm waiting for the feeling to return to my cramped left hand.
NOTE TO SELF: get one of those suitcases that have the extendable handle on the side rather than the top [ like overgrown carry-on luggage]
NOTE TO EVERYONE ELSE: yes, oh sharp eyed ones, that is a bag of novelty yarn right at the back there, but it's the super soft, smooshy kind intended for making chemo and/or alopecia hats

Sunday, October 19, 2008

if I can just last until tomorrow!!

I didn't get around to posting yesterday and telling you about the lovely new 3 seater suede-look microfibre lounge/couch/sofa [ pick your term of linguistic preference ]
This morning I discovered that, despite the 2 quilts I had put on there as dog-proof couch covers, one of the cats had decided to sharpen its claws on the front of an arm rest.
I now know who the culprit is - in all probability - because I wasn't fast enough to stop Oakley doing the same to the OTHER arm rest about 5 minutes ago.
I now having matching sets of tiny holes in my brand new, waited for about 4 years, much anticipated couch.

Tomorrow I get on a plane for my first real break in over a decade and fly down to Tassie until Friday.
I'm only just letting myself get excited about this.
Sounds more than a little fatalistic I know, but I think somewhere deep in the back of my head, I was afraid that if I allowed myself to believe it, then something would happen to cock it up.
I have been negotiating for months and months for Carer funding for David and as a result there will be people coming to live in each afternoon/evening and to get him up and off to his Day Placement.
It WAS supposed to be one person - whom he knew - but of course in the ongoing saga, that didn't happen. Two people, two days each, one he'd never met until yesterday.

bloody hell:

organising animals
writing lists for this man that doesn't know dave

I'm going to need a holiday after this !!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

How to put on a Quilt Show ?

Obviously one must first make some quilts and find a suitable venue but if we can take those as a given?

to put on a quilt show you must ...
First assemble your troups ...
We have learnt through previous bitter experience not to have too many well intentioned 'helpers' as they only get in each other's way.
Also we would prefer no blood be shed as it's too difficult to get it out of the quilts, so it works best if all concerned are able to rub along together and just get on with the jobs at hand.
With this in mind, make sure that there is one person in charge, to whom all disputes can be referred... try hard not to drive this person insane. This is very important. You might need her later!
This 'in charge' person needs to posses the patience of Job, and more tact than ... than ... umm... a very tactful person
[ that's her on the left, otherwise known as Mme President, Sylvia ]

If at all possible ensure that there are a couple of semi-willing hubbys to do the heavy lifting and such. It helps if they are trained to take orders.

So, today we started around 9 am by vacuuming the hall thoroughly.
Then we proceeded to erect the quilt stands according to a convoluted floor plan.
Mountains of quilts were sorted and their order allocated by Marcie [ in red ]

backdrops fixed in place
then we discovered that we were short two black backdrops and I went home to manufacture them out of David's sheets

breaks were had for a bountious, copious, delicious morning tea and lunch provided by the lovely Frieda
and by the time I left to get David at 3pm the quilts were starting to go up.
Things may look quite advanced here but I know that there will have been many many changes since I left and much tweaking of the colour scheme and what hangs next to which.

if you are in need of an outing and in reach of Castlemaine:

St Mary's Church Hall
Hargreaves Street
opening at 10 am tomorrow, October 17 and then Saturday and Sunday [ closing at 3 on Sunday because we have to get it all down again ]

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

worth the wait ?

I ordered these back in MAY supposedly with a 12 week wait for delivery from the State, because ... get this ... they only import brown cowdy boots into Australia!!!!!

There was supposed to be another plain black pair as wel,l but the 'lass who doesn't work here anymore' had typed in the wrong code so the toe shape was wrong and they have to go back. I've had second thoughts about justifying the cost of two pairs anyway so, in a way, it was a blessing - but I'm glad the two-tone ones were the correct pair.After 5 month's wait and more than one "please 'splain" phone call, and just as we head into the hot weather, here they are...
and I don't care how hot it gets... I'm gonna wear 'em anyway.

If you just heard a kerthunk, it was probably RoseRed hyperventillating.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008


I didn't even notice the little bug on the trunk in that first one until I saw it on the monitor :]
observant much ??
Triffids cunningly disguised as lichen on a dead branch

and this last one is the tiny Twining Fringe-Lily [thysanotus patersonii] growing around a small eucalyptus plantlet.
Those flowers are about the size of your smallest fingernail.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Snakebabs anyone?

I have just finished sifting the still hot ash from yesterday and while I draw the line at photographing the evidence, suffice it to say that I now know what char broiled snake looks like.

What I found hardest to believe was that the silly bugger poked his head out of the bonfire when it got a bit hot and chose to go back in. Immolation wouldn't be my choice of the ideal way to go.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Remember this ?

remember the lizard a couple of weeks ago?
remember the comment about what else would be up and about if the lizards were awake ?

.... well, over the last two hours or so, I have had a replay of last year's snake incident - 4 foot brown snake in the garden bed immediately in front of the kitchen door... the only difference being that this time there was a certain furry would-be snake exterminator with me that I didn't particularly want to get bitten ... who steadfastly refused to 'come' when called ... so by the time I had cornered Bear, scooped him up and phoned PND and Brenda, I'd lost sight of the snake.
The three of us spent half an hour poking greenery with spades and rakes, and had pretty much given up.
PND and BND were heading gingerly back up the path to their place when a screech alerted me to the fact that they had re-established contact with the brown-and-slithery who had proceeded to go to ground under one of my bonfire piles.
Bad move snakey!
Metho + match + bonfire = hopefully a BBQ'd snake

no snake was seen exiting the area, no charred corpse has been found, therefore it is entirely possible that he is sitting [query: do snakes sit ? ] safe in a bunny hole under the pyre but I'm hoping otherwise.

I am
but not snakebit

Saturday, October 11, 2008

of Bell's bell and beehives

Bells posted about a vintage bell-shaped knitting gauge that she has recently purchased [ and how could she not, given her nickname ? ]
and that prompted me to check the two that I have, to see if they were the same.

My friend Maz would know immediately which ones she has but not me.
and, as it turns out, mine aren't quite the same as Bells'.

Then the next thought that occurred was that I hadn't ever shown you my rather modest collection, except for incidental photos of the silver coloured bells and beehive that hang on the tree in my bedroom at Christmas

so here they are
some are in the old UK/ Commonwealth sizings, some are metric and a few of the contemporary ones also have US sizing as well.

These ones don't go above size 6 which is today's 5.5mm /US 9 - presumably because people simply didn't knit with anything thicker. There is no modern equivalent for those teeny size 16s, but a 2mm / US size 0 would be a 14.

This one isn't a needle gauge per se - it has a little brass slide on the front for keeping track of rows.. On the back it has a ruler and the legend " The 'BRAX' KNITTER'S AID patent applied for" ... anyone got any idea where or when it was made ?

I used to have more needle gauges - a couple of Bakelite beehives that had been my mother's, and some others that had probably come free with English Women's Weekly in the 60s and 70s, but somewhere along the line, they have disappeared as is the way of such things.

Friend Maz
is the serious collector of these things so if you'd like to see more, go visit her and then my dozen-and-a-bit will pale into insignificance :]
eta I've now linked to the specific post that shows her collection

and if you have some lurking in the bottom of your knitting basket, or the drawers of that old Singer sewing machine, or in Nanna's old workbasket - please share photos.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Shoesday is late this week

Sometimes you can be in the right place at the right time
Op Shop
suede and leather
obviously never worn while driving because the backs are perfect [ although as my DD pointed out, that probably won't be the case for very long ]
oh and regardless of the photo, they are actually purple not burgundy

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

country life ? not so joyous as it turns out

Apparently the title of yesterday's post should have been read with a touch of irony.

I got home from quilt group at lunchtime and headed over to Pete's to see if anything had happened while I was out.

Without going into details, there was visible evidence that India was finally in labour so I continued on to the house where Pete had mistakenly thought that he was about to have lunch. We sat with her for the next two hours watching that one tiny hoof and then she finally delivered a stillborn pure black buck and nothing else.

Just one

Non-breeding bucks are generally unwanted and PND could've probably given it away [ or even put it down ] without a second thought but he still tried everything he could to get that little one jump started and nothing worked. I will admit that I stayed out of the way with India while that was happening. There are some things that don't need witnesses and the sounds of that stoic Aussie bloke trying to save the little buck nearly broke my heart.

I know in the grand scheme this is a tiny tragedy and I know that we still have Scarlett's babies to come, but I'm sad tonight

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

the joys of country life ?

Fire ban season will start soon, so this time of year is a frantic race to get a bit more of the block cleared. Ten acres of gumtrees equals a hell of a lot of leaf litter and I'm still playing catch up on a block that hadn't been cleared for years when I moved in - complacent, lazy beggars - so I have periodic bouts of insane activity followed by complete collapse.

lots and lots of burning

and while I loves me a good bonfire, I'm feeling trashed and in need of a cuppa tea and a good lie down, so you're getting more unconnected random photos:

No news on the goat watch. Here's poor India doing a fine impersonation of a beached whale:

Who is taking whom for a walk ? Bear and David on the path we've worn up the hill to next door. The 'construction' in the middle distance is PND's goat house which is beside the boundary fence, and if you click on the photo, you can JUST see the corner of the roof of PND's house. This photo was taken, oh, maybe 50 feet from my house, just beyond the corner of the goat paddock, so you get some sense of the distance to the nearest neighbour

and with no attempt at a segue:
More dyeing ... this was previously pale green self striping Opal sock wool
and now
it's not
well yeah, it's still sock wool but not self striping anymore
I'm kinda over the whole self striping thing. Granted it's very very clever ...
it suits very plain socks best. I mean that's the whole point, isn't it ? That the yarn does all the work ?
Which is all fine and dandy if you don't suffer from SSS [ second sock syndrome ] but I do - and those second perfectly plain socks somehow just languish in the doldrums [ aka the wicker basket under the coffee table ]
Not that I'm after fiendishly difficult challenges
ooooooh no, not this relatively new little sock knitter... just something to keep up the interest.

Okay that's it, got nothin' else for ya
back to your regularly scheduled business

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Friday, October 03, 2008

four totally random and completely unconnected Friday fotos

We're on kid watch again - this is very pregnant 'India' from next door who is due today. Her babies have the same father as my Ruby and Rowan and PND's Bella. Her sister Scarlett [ the one with white patches ] is due soon too. Their babies will have Ms Bella as both half sister [ same daddy] and aunt [ she has the same mum as India and Scarlett ]
Ruby and Rowan will, of course, also be half sisters to the new arrivals.
Confuzzled yet ?

Bear says thankyou for the well wishes and he's feeling fine now apart from the indignity of the shaved tummy and nether regions.

The Waxlip Orchids [Glossodia major] are out now. I wouldn't say 'in profusion' exactly, but enough that they're not too hard to find despite being about the size of a thumbnail

Nadie's Bripples are coming along nicely.

According to the yardage quoted on the pattern, my one ball should have been plenty, but when I weighed the finished sock and the remaining yarn, the sock was a couple of grams heavier.
Ever tried to duplicate a dye lot in one-of-a-king hand painted yarn?
Well, I have.
I know which colours I used but it's all about getting the depth of colour right as well as the proportion of each of the shades.
Hank #2 was the right proportions but a little too dark, hank#3 was the right depth of colour but with perhaps a little less of the cyclamen in it. I was beginning to feel a bit like Goldilocks.
"This one is toooooo cold
This one is toooooo hot ...."

Given that it'll probably only be used for the toes, I'm going to go ahead with hank #3, choose the most likely section and see if there's a visible difference. ..if there is ... well, all is not lost ... I can undo the toes on both and knit them in a co-ordinating navy. Not that I've dyed the navy yet, but I figure that's got to be easier than endless attempts to exactly duplicate the balance of colours in the first lot... and navy toes would look quite acceptable.

now I've seen everything

I get a free e-sampler from Dover every Friday - it contains links to thumbnails of several of their [very reasonably priced ] books and when you click on the thumbnail, it opens up to a page from said book. There are actually two samplers - a general one and a kids one - and some of the images from both their design books and the kid's colouring books have embroidery or quilt potential. Some I save 'just cos' and some I may actually use one day.

but what can you say to this at 8 am? I hadn't even had a fortifying coffee:

yup ... paper dolls of Obama and McCain! book for the Republican kidlets and another for the offspring of the Democratically inclined.

Can't you just picture the scene:
Little Tyffany throws aside her Barbie and My little Pony in her haste to play with her lovely new Senator McCain doll.
I cannot even begin to articulate how wrong this is on so many levels.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008


In honour of the start of Socktober and because I finished the Bripples yesterday, I give you .... ta da ...
some Swiss Aarlan Arwetta 4ply/fingering that was plain cream when I bought it and 8 of its friends on Ebay a few months ago... it's 75% wool 25% nylon so I thought that it would probably do well in socks.
I like dyeing yarns with a little bit of nylon.
The Landscape dyes that I mainly use are supposed to be ok for nylon as well as protein based fibres but the result is a softer, heathered look compared to pure wool - a 'hand dyed' look if you will.
The colour on this monitor isn't QUITE right... what looks hot pink is more a cyclamen and the cyclamen, more purple. The blue is actually a much darker navy too ... it's currently sitting 25' away, on the arm of the couch, and from that distance all the little variations have blended together and it definitely looks purple, a good dark, saturated, bluey purple. I guess you'll have to take my word for that.
I had several goes at getting a representative colour but as usual the camera insisted on believing it was lighter and brighter than what I was seeing.
So far I've only dyed up the one hank.
It is a little thinner than the Opal and the Casbah that I've used recently, so I swatched and decided to go down to a 3mm needle.
That will result theoretically in a smaller sock for a certain daughter 'o mine who has very slender ankles and elegant thin feet.
The only drawback Nadie, my dear, is that you'll have to hand wash the beggars.

Dave isn't feeling too spiffy and is still in bed, Bear needs to be encouraged to take it easy and nap on the couch, and I'm disinclined to consider either housework or [shock!horror!] working outside, so I'm having a distinctly lazy, couch day and the sock is progressing nicely.