Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

I guess you had to be here

I just had one of those " Oh damn, where's the camera?' moments ...
As with the echidna incident last week, Mr Bear sounded the alarm from his favourite outside-watching position on the back of the couch [ sofa]
and with a small ballistic missile threatening to launch, I opted for the safest course of action - I opened the door and stood back, figuring that he was off to engage in his ongoing battle with his arch-nemeses, the maggies.
small dog explodes through door and crosses stage left barking hysterically

slight pause accompanied by duet for disturbed-magpies-and-canine


large hare careens into view heading stage right

followed by the biggest freakin' fox I've EVER seen

followed by His Beariness in full warcry

which makes me kinda glad that there's no rabies in Australia - let's hear it for our draconian quarantine laws!

Monday, March 29, 2010


Initially I was drawn to this design in an old craft mag because it was blue-and-white-and-pretty
and then I took a second glance ...

It's gone through several editors, plus the photographer, and you're going to tell me that NO-ONE noticed ?

Friday, March 26, 2010

Can't See The Forest For The trees

Ta Da!!

pattern: Forest Canopy Shawl by Susan Lawrence
March 13 - 26
Yarn: Wollemeise Saami overdyed in Landscapes Marine - the yarn was a post-Ravelympic prize from the lovely Sonia [ aka indefiknit on ravelry ]
Needles: KP Harmony 5mm and 6mm to cast-off

modifications to the pattern - none really - just did some extra repeats of the lace pattern to make it bigger, and left out the last two rows of the border - Wollemeise is not something you waste so I was determined to use it all. THIS

is how much I had left the second time I cast-off [ the first time was just a little looser and the yarn didn't quite go the distance ]

I'm prepared to admit that I was a bit concerned about the rust/red pooling in two places on the centre back - not enough to pull it out though

- and it really doesn't show now that it's had a bath and been blocked and dried.

If I ever get access to a set of blocking wires I'll probably reblock the edge points a little more aggressively but for now 't'is fine.
I certainly don't want it any bigger:
It measures 1.8 m /72 inches across the wingspan and 90 cm /36 inches deep at the centre back

Thursday, March 25, 2010

I had the best day

... on Monday.

Nadie and The Boy and assorted grandkittens had arrived after teatime Sunday

The Boy spent the day installing my new computer, which has more than 3 times the capacity of its predecessor and is sooooo much faster ... and it looks just so much sleeker. It's a bit of a shame about my shabby grey speakers, but they still work fine so they're staying for now.
Okay, yes, it will probably take me a while to get used to all the differences, but so far I'm loving it.
Anyway, the other thing that made Monday a very good day was Nadie announcing that she wanted to make a baby quilt as a gift.
In the past she's mostly made miniature quilts, so this is a step up
She knows without asking that my stash is hers - so she did [ ask that is ]
likewise a sewing machine - my little Elna Lotus - given that it's the one that she already has a tentative relationship with [ having nearly trashed it about 10 years ago while making a fully jointed bear from black ack-crylic fake fur ]
She chose the fabricsI did the cutting [ with' help' from Oakley ]

but she's doing the sewing.

There may need to be some Mum input along the way - and in any case I want to share the process with her - so she's only doing just 'so much' at home between visits.

Being able to share one of my passions with my daughter is a pretty damn good feeling !

Sunday, March 21, 2010

the BIG secret revealed

Last weekend I showed you Ms Sophie being a total tart with Tara
and some of you may have wondered why I made no mention at all of that magnum opus that Tara was so obviously working on, spread all over my kitchen table.

That was because it was a

Charly who operates Ixchelbunny Fibres has been facing a major health hurdle lately, and a group of her friends/customers, here and overseas, decided to give her a tangible expression of their support.
100 squares were posted from all over and Tara and Woolie Wombat sewed them into a humungous blankie.
As Ms Tara admits to being a bit 'crochet challenged', I volunteered myself to add the edging - which wasn't a particularly onerous task, and was easily knocked off last Sunday.

Of course this was in deepest, darkest, greatest secrecy but the great handover was on Friday night down in Melbourne
and so
[drum roll please maestro]

here is Charly avec blankie

photos courtesy of Tara

Friday, March 19, 2010

Just loving the macro button on Friday

It's technically Autumn but you wouldn't know it.
Not up here anyway
So here's a little of what's out and about at the moment
[ with added comments for Alwen ]

This first is one of the taller Plectranthus ... no idea which one , and it would be about 75cm/30 inches tall. you can see two types of leaf in the pic. The smooth ovoid ones belong to a ficus that shares the same pot. A cutting from the previous neighbours, Brenda and PND

and this second one - which I consider one of the triffids - is a succulent of some sort, another cutting from Brenda and PND.

It's about eight inches tall

Now this next one is a Bromeliad of some sort and although I'd never seen this particular one before, and bought two of them last weekend at the Farmer's Market - and apparently paid too much into the bargain - it turns out that just about everyone I know " could've given you one!"
and " just threw out a whole bunch "
Bromeliads are naturally more of a tropical plant so have to be a bit sheltered from the frosts.
Mine are all in pots on the verandah or in the shadehouse cunningly disguised as a cat-run.

This little daisy-like annual was here when I moved in and I just think of it as an Easter Daisy.
Not doing too well on the naming-stuff-for-Alwen am I ? LOL

and last for this post is a pretty pink Sedum - and hey, big surprise, I don't know what IT'S called either

Trust me.
There is a whole lot of stuff in this garden that I can name ... and I've worked out what most of the wildflowers in my patch of bushland are.

Just not this lot.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Triffid in my garden

The Code Id Da Dose has passed along with the 2 day migraine that followed it, but my post-migraine fuzzy brain isn't up to clever word craft, so I'm just going to content myself with showing you this pseudo-alien life form which looks as though it may have sprung from the pages of John Wyndham's classic novel

I have some unusual looking things in my garden but the Ox-Tongue Lily would have to be one of the strangest.
The waxy-looking flower pushes its way out of the soil over several days, followed a couple of weeks later by the big, fleshy leaves that give it its name. So far it's just the one flower... that greenery belongs to an adjacent succulent.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

A Code Id Da Doze and prizes

Yesterday I had the kind of day that would provide enough material for a week's worth of blog posts.
A slow and leisurely breakfast in the garden [ photo op promptly terminated when the March flies arrived ]
Then Dave and I went to a cute little country market at Guilford [ friends met, plants acquired and sausages consumed and yes, more photos]
Gardening [ well yeah, I'd just bought plants and the weather was perfection so of course there was gardening ... and photos ]
Robyn came over for afternoon tea [ I made good cake ]
Afternoon tea also involved me and some very nice yarn [ Robyn-the-non-knitter bought me Collinette! ]
Tara came over after dinner and again very nice yarn featured [ more of that in another post ]
Sophie loves Tara ... love, love, love,love,love

or maybe she just loves wool

but alas! yesterday also featured ... streaming eyes, running nose and more latterly, a scratchy throat.
Any hope of a well written post with smooth segues has flown out the window, or perhaps more accurately, sailed away on a tide of halucinegenic cold medication

So I will content myself with just a little bit of yarn enabling:
If you are at all attracted to the idea of beautifully dyed fibres and yarns on really top quality bases, you must go over to Mayhem and Chaos.
You especially must visit if you like knitting [or crocheting] things in fine wool on tiny needles ... there is a new sock yarn club starting up and fabulous prizes of both yarn and fibre are on offer for sign-ups.
you know you want to

Friday, March 12, 2010

Caught In The Act

It's full dark now, but half an hour ago there was still just enough light to safely navigate myself over to the property line [ about 100 metres ] to investigate whatever it was causing Bear to:

a] go absolutely troppo, barking his head off and doing that stiff legged bounce that all small dogs seem to do when confronting an intruder
b] completely ignore the fact that I, his adoptive parental unit and pack-leader was demanding he come inside.

I'm kinda glad that I struggled into the boots and went over to retrieve the annoying barking thing, because otherwise I would've missed seeing this little girl/guy.

He/she/or it was huddled in a ball with all extremities pulled in and head buried,
presumably trying to convince Bear to disappear.
Well, of course I hadn't taken the camera with me, so I raced back to the house - as much as one can race in failing light over uneven, rocky terrain - with Bear complaining and struggling under my arm, and returned sans canine and with the camera, fully expecting that the echidna would have already disappeared.
Just as I'd left it.
It pulled its head out a couple of times, caught some glimpse of me and promptly dived its snout back into the leaf litter [ if my face is hidden, you can't see me! ] so I retreated a bit and just put the camera on zoom.
That did the trick ...

Thursday, March 11, 2010

ta da! ... oh oops!

I was going to do the semi-traditional unveiling of the newly completed project, but then I realised that you'd never read any of the in-progress reports.
I swear that I wrote those posts ... in my head anyway ... I was under the shower at the time, because that's invariably when my best blogworthy notions occur
somewhere between the genesis of the brilliant, witty , polished verbal gems that were created as I scoured the body, and their full expression via these 'ere innernets, there was a lapse of concentration or communication

so please bear with me as I back up a week:

I do know that last Friday I mentioned Ms Tara's planned visit and the banana cake.
I didn't mention that I'd taken an escape- goat assisted head-first tumble and was nursing some very sore upper body bits, as well as a very slightly bruised knee [ which did develop nicely later when there was no one around to admire the interesting transitions from aubergine to green and yellow ]
Anyway, the right arm was still working so crochet was on the menu, especially as I had only started a new post-ravelympic project the day before.

The fastest spindle in Central Victoria duly arrived after tea and set to work with this gorgeous, shiny, blue stuff. I've forgotten exactly what was in the mix - silk I think, and angora bunny fluff - anyway it was something luscious from Charly at Ixchelbunny.
I think. Tara? can you confirm?

so, achey bits notwithstanding, and fortified by many teas and the banana cake,
this is the Chevron Lace cardi last friday evening after one days work:

and as everyone else in the knitblogverse has commented, it is very easy and an extremely fast and satisfying pattern. I did feel that the instructions for starting the sleeves could have been a little more detailed and I also noticed, when perusing the hundreds of finished projects on Ravelry, that quite a few people missed the direction to join each row of the sleeves and turn the work so that the sleeves were being worked back and forth to match the body. It still looks good if one works the sleeves entirely from the right side - the difference is very slight - and quite possibly a newish crocheter wouldn't even notice. I'm not carping. I really like this pattern. I merely mention it as a heads up in case any of you decide to make one ... which you should.

Chevron Lace Cardi by Milobo [ freebie]
BWM Luxury 8ply - 300 grams
After some very unsatisfactory swatching, I went down a size to a 5.5mm and then discovered that the only other person on Ravelry who'd used that yarn [ the lovely Bells ] had done the same. Obviously I should've paid more attention to the specifics of her project page.

the only minor modifications were to use the 6mm hook for the initial chain and the chains under the arms, and also to make the 2 chain spaces where the underarms joined in only 1 ch, because they have a tendency to 'grow' into a sizable hole in this type of construction.

I also took Bells' other piece of advice too, and blocked it before I put on the front bands.
Luxury has a definite tendency to grow with its first bath. it also becomes much, much softer!

If I hadn't done that, it would've been finished last weekend ... but I might not have been as happy with the result.
With all the rain, it's taken until today to dry properly, and after some quick hook action finished off the front bands, it's had another bath and is back drying on the spare bed.
MissC and Bear are both peeved because I've declared that room off limits to anything that sheds.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Jasmine's Quilt Giveaway

Ms Jasmine is celebrating her first blogiversary by making and giving away a cheery, bright, scrap quilt. Everyone needs one of those, right?
So head on over to Banaghaisge
and leave the appropriate comment
and tell her I sent you, okay ? [ cos I said I would ]

Monday, March 08, 2010

It's a dog's life

Bear enjoys a brief break in the rain*

playing in the bottom of the dam

and has to suffer the consequences:

"You is a rotten mum"

"I don'ts likes you much"

"Still don'ts like you ...
and anyway, the hair dryer makes me look like a sissy!"

* we've had all of about 3" over the last three days

Friday, March 05, 2010

Bewdiful Banana Cake

There's really only two things to be done when bananas are totally past it.
One can feed them to the compost [ aka Rosie, Rowan, Ruby and Robbyn ]
one can make banana cake
Given that Ms Tara and her current knitting are venturing hitherwards from deepest, darkest Bendigonia this evening, I went for the cake option.

Sorry goat girls, you miss out.

Bewdiful Banana Cake:

2 1/2 cups of self raising flour
3 medium or 2 large over ripe bananas
1 cup castor sugar
1 egg
3/4 cup of low fat milk
1/4 cup oil
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
a shake of nutmeg [ optional]

Mash the bananas.
Mix all the ingredients and pour into a loaf pan.
Bake for 50 minutes in a moderate oven [ about 160C ] until an inserted skewer comes out clean. Let sit for 10 minutes before turning onto cake rack for cooling.

Ice [ frost ] if desired

Of course to do that you actually have to hold off on the eating until it's cooled down, so icing rarely [ as in NEVER ] happens around here.

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Yes I know they're over but ...

I had to show you my Ravelympic 'medals' as conferred upon me with great ceremony by the head of the International Ravelympic Committee, Adonis Dionysius Bobicus Maximus [ he whose handsome visage adorns these awards ]

Because of the way that some finished knitted / crochet items could be entered into more than one event, I ended up medalling in 8 separate disciplines with a total of 21 'medals':

2 for Aerial Unwind
2 for Hat Halfpipe
4 for StashDancing4 in WIPsDancing
There was 1 in Downhill Dyeing
2 in Single Skein Speed Skate
2 in the treacherous Lace Lugeand not forgetting the 4 in the Junior Olympics

EDIT March 5th:
I have been belatedly awarded another 'medal' in Designer Original Dance

taking my total to 22 medals across 9 discliplines
would that this translated into actual sporting prowess !