Thursday, April 29, 2010

If you like KnitLit

You can download a FREE copy of the ebook " The Shop On Blossom Street" by Debbie Macomber here for the next week

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Sunday, April 25, 2010

No clever titles today

Bear and I found a new denizen of the block during our daily perambulation, and if you're wondering how I have totally failed to discover it in the past, I should perhaps point out that it is smaller than my smallest fingernail and so far I have only found a very small patch of them.
Most of the little native orchids only bloom for a few weeks anyway so it's been rather hit-and-miss in terms of finding them.
I have no idea as to its formal identity but the dawg thinks it could be a Bear's Orchid.

EDIT TO ADD: After consultation with the rather poor line drawings in "Common Orchids of the Castlemaine District", followed by a Google Images search, I am now reasonably [ well a little bit ] confident that what I have are the 'fairly common' Parson's Bands eriochilus cucullatus ... it even says that they flower through to April.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Baa Baa White Sheep have you any wool ?

I found this cute little cheapie Sheepie at Chickenfeed for ... well ... chickenfeed.


I walked past her
backed up
gave myself a stiff talking to ...
because, y'know, she's cheap and bright and probably not all that durable
and I did put her back and walk away

and then came back the next morning
Yeah, lead me not into temptation, I can find it perfectly well all by myself !

and did I mention that she's a moneybox

So what I'm thinking is that I'll put my gold coins [ $1 & $2 ] in Sheepie and that will be my spending money for the Sheep & Wool Show in July.

and now, because I was asked nicely, even if it was only by one person:
here's the specs on the pink shawl [ and those of you who are sick and tired of the parade of lace can just move along now - I'll never know if you don't tell me ]

It's a slightly late birthday pressie for my BFF in Tassie who is basically the queen of hot pink
and as it is currently winging its way over Bass Strait, it's a bit late to get a better pic. Ahh well.

pattern: [ as if you didn't know ]
Forest Canopy Shawl - yes again ... I needed to do this fast and on autopilot - as in 4 days go to whoa.
15 repeats of the lace pattern and no mods.

Bendigo Woollen Mills Baby 4ply in Frost, overdyed with Landscape Wild Rasberry
[ and this next unblocked photo is truer for colour plus it gives you a sense of how much the lace opens up when wet]

I used just over half of a 200 gram ball

KP Harmony 5.5mm and cast off on 6mm

and it ended up slightly over 70" wide [ 1.8metres ]

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Nearly Finished ??

The 'Either-Very-Late-Or-Exceptionally-Early-Christmas-Strippy' is back from its sojourn to deepest darkest Bendigo, having thoroughly enjoyed it's stay with Jodi Abel of Daisy Patch Quilting.
As you can see, MissC has thoroughly CATscanned it,

and found it to be most acceptable to her refined tastes, and she is just waiting for the household staff, aka ME, to :

a] finish washing the green fabric for the binding [ which I've had forever, and already washed once but there was a distinct and pervasive odeur-de-chat so it's in the wash again ]

b] iron it

c] cut it into enough 2.5" strips to go around the quilt

d] join them together and iron 'em in half lengthwise

e] Machine sew to the front of the quilt, making nice neat mitres at the corners, and an imperceptable join where it all meets up again

and finally

f] Hand sew 30 odd feet of binding to the back

so I guess we all know what the rest of this week holds for Catsmum, eh?

and with no attempt at a clever segue whatsoever, here's just a glimpse of the gift that's going into the mail tomorrow

yes, yes

I know

it's another Forest Canopy Shawl

I'll spare you the details*

*unless you really want to know

Friday, April 16, 2010

FMS inspired Friday Fotos

Sometimes I show you stuff because I think it's a neat photo, interesting subject, a potential quilt or somehow visually pleasing

and sometimes it's because I feel like posting but I really don't have the energy or inspiration needed to craft a halfway decent post

in this case it's kinda both

I've been totally overdoing the 'hooray-the-fire-restrictions-have-been-lifted' raking, piling and bonfiring, and I'm completely and utterly cactus
really, really bone-tired exhausted of the 'need to lie down because I'm too tired to sit up' variety

but also I think this old rolling stock that's been abandoned beside the line near the Castlemaine Station is kinda interesting. I been driving by it pretty much daily for 5 years so this week I pulled over and went for a walk along the line:

plus there is probably some unwritten law about how many Forest Canopy Shawls I'm allowed show you in any given month

Thursday, April 15, 2010

In Search Of...

I know it's the longest of long shots but, before I invest more time than I'd care to think about in grading this up several sizes,
does anyone happen to have a copy of this 15 year old pattern lurking about in size 12 - 16 ?

edited to add:
you'll never believe it - I found it on Ebay $8 Buy It Now from someone in Melbourne. $9.20 with postage. Happy dance!!!!!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Up Close And Personal with A Local Landmark

There's quilt fodder in every single one of these photos !
I'm especially taken with the top one. Wouldn't those red rosettes make a great quilting design ? or applique ?

and in case you're curious, it's our local Post Office ... an imposing edifice that I am intimately acquainted with ... there's no postal delivery out here so this is where I have a PO box.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

but they're good for you ... really

I'm sure most of you have experience of kids who won't eat their fruit-and-veggies

or won't eat them if they're green [ yes Nadie, I'm looking at you ]

or who only live on one or two food items,
like maybe Vegemite sandwiches and mashed potatoes

We all know the value of a balanced diet and the consequences of a poor one
So I was pondering this very issue and getting a bit concerned about the recent lack of variety in my knitting diet

thought I might perhaps be suffering a bad case of knitstipation

that was until I got a comment on a recent post from Susan Lawrence who is the designer of my favourite shawl pattern-that-I-just-finished-another-one-of

some lady in the UK has made 31 Forest Canopy Shawls
so I'm ok
and to proove that I don't have a problem, I just cast on for ...



edited to add:
I forgot to mention that the yarn was vintage Cleckheaton Riverina 5ply [sport] generously given to me last year by OzJane. I'm not sure whether it was hers or her late mum's but either way at least some of it has been put to good use.
It took just over 6 of the old style 25 gram balls - so just over 150 grams.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

another tiny treasure

See this funny little guy?

... well, I say ' guy' but it could just as easily be a girl.
Surprisingly, I'm not that great at sexing squirrels - especially not tiny silver ones - but 'IT' is so impersonal, right? So if we can all just agree to think of this one as a hesquirrel, it will make writing this post a whole lot easier. Okay?

I've had him pretty much my whole life, and I've only ever seen one other like him -which belongs to my good friend Nola G

I think that he was probably a Christening gift because my parents were not very affluent, and unless I tell you, I'd be very surprised if anyone [ except Nola of course ] would be able to guess his purpose

... because, you see, he's not purely decorative. He had a mission in life - quite an important one.

want a hint?
... well
if it helps
he came with this mother-of-pearl ring

It measures about an inch and a quarter and the inside edge is quite crudely done

not ready to give up yet?

another hint, then?
and this time I'm really giving the whole game away

there would've been a little rubber bulb attached to that groove near the base

this was my dummy [ pacifier to my American friends ]
so I may not have had a silver spoon in my mouth but I certainly had a silver squirrel

From time to time I wear the squirrel on a chain, and when there was a fashion a few years back for such things, I had the mother-of-pearl ring threaded onto a leather thong.

Anyone else got one of these ?

Saturday, April 10, 2010

but can you stop at one ?

The Forest Canopy Shawl pattern by Susan Lawrence would be much better named Pringles
because the blessed thing is addictive

I made my first one last year
and then there was this one last month
After my brief detour with Kiri, I'm back to the Forest with a vengeance.

Last week I decided to see what would happen if I knitted it in one of my handspun yarns
This single sacred hank of Sea Lavender [ so named after the Sea Lavender colourway of tops dyed by Nancy Ballasteros and bought at Purl's palace in Daylesford ]

is something that was spun over a quite wide interval and of course in the intervening period, my skills developed so one of the plies, done nearly two years ago when I'd only been spinning a couple of months, was less ...mmm... shall we say 'consistent'? ... than the second bobbin done last year during the Tour De Fleece.
Still it came out as quite a nice, soft, well balanced yarn, somewhere between Sport/5ply and DK / 8ply, albeit perhaps a little underspun [ which for you non-spinners means that it's soft as all get-out but probably not going to take a lot of rough wear and abrasion ] so a shawl, scarf or cowl was always going to be a far better choice than, say, socks.

Anyway, I decided to give it a go as lace, and went up a couple of sizes in needle to a 6mm.
As with the last one, I basically used up every scrap of the yarn - and even had to do an emergency ply-up of the last few metres of singles that was hanging around on a bobbin when I ran out with about 20 cast-off stitches to go.
No WAY was I pulling it back a row!I love how it turned out and it is totally my colours but somehow it just seemed to be calling Nadie's name, and who better to own something that I'd put so much time into - I'm a slow spinner y'all - so yesterday when she came up for the day with her friend Natty, and Nat's mum, Ann, I got her to model it and then gave it to her.
Greater love hath no mother :]

Nat didn't go away empty handed either: she's the queen of all things fluff-and-froofy, so she scored an oversized Mobieus Cowl in ultra-long super-fluffy novelty yarn in a really nice blue-which-I-completely-forgot-to-photograph.

and will it surprise anyone to be told that the minute I pinned Nadie's shawl out to block, I started yet another Forest Canopy?

I know it

My name is Susan and I'm a ForestCanopyaholic
It's been half an hour since my last stitch.

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

not that you'd ever know it but ...

Nonna Lidia is NOT an animal person
but Oakley, Sophie and Bear don't accept that

I never quite know how to refer to Nonna.
So sometimes she gets introduced as Stephen / David / Nadie's grandmother
or Marc's mum
or my late-husband's mum

I mean I can't call her my ex mother-in-law
but somehow referring to her as my MIL doesn't always sit right either

Anyway, whatever I call her, I took Nonna for the 2 hour drive back to Melbourne this morning, combining it with a dental appointment [ I've had the same dentist for 35 years and he is NOT allowed to retire ]
Nadie had her annual checkup booked for straight after mine and then we went back and had lunch with Nonna [ like she hadn't seen enough of me this week! ]

I carted home a bag of chillies and 3 bags of Fujoa fruit, and can state that the goats, after some initial caution, have voted in the affirmative for fujoa [ and no I couldn't have made fujoa jam because - quite apart from the fact that I don't have the necessary equipment ... or know how ... or the slightest inclination - this stuff had been on the ground for goodness knows how long. If I suddenly decide on a career in jam making, I'll pick the umpty gazillion still on her tree ]

Bear is obviously suffering separation anxiety and hasn't moved more than a metre away from my feet since I got him out of his day incarceration in the goat house.

and yes, okay, there may have been a slight detour on the way home

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Happy Easter

Nadie and Chris arrived yesterday along with Nonna.They've just rolled off home stuffed to the gills, but Nonna is staying on for a few days.

lunch today involved
prawnsNonna's lasagnewith Bear and Oakley acting as pre-dishwasher cleanup crew

roast turkey and loads of veggies cooked in a variety of ways

there was Colomba [ Italian Easter version of Panettone ] with custard but we didn't manage to fit that in until well into mid afternoon because we were all too busy digesting.

There was a post-prandial perambulation with the dog

and the modelling of my newly blocked and dried Kiri shawl
this is more of a shawlette because I made it from a single ball of Sophie's Toes given to me last year by my dear and good friend, the lovely Lisette.

pattern: Kiri [ a fabulous freebie from All Tangled Up ]
needles: KP Options size 5.5mm and cast off on 7mm
mods : an extra couple of rows in the edging - didn't want to waste any of the available yarn ]
yarn : Sophie's Toes by Emily Parsons
... Once I got going, I wasn't entirely sure it was going to work because this is a very springy sproingy sock yarn but there were other [ beautiful ] shawls made in it on Ravelry so I trusted in the power of the Internet and kept on going. Of course it all blocked out just bee-ooo-ti-full-y.

Thank-you Ravelry!
and double Thank-you Lisette !

Saturday, April 03, 2010

Little visitor

Bear and MissC were completely engrossed with a ... something ... a little way out from the front of the house.
There was no hysterical barking going on, just a heightened awareness, but I wandered over just in case it was something brown, legless and slithery.

It WAS kinda brown

and you could stretch a point and call it slithery

but thankfully there were definite legs

After a short photographic session, the little dragon seems to have decided that retreat might possibly be the better part of valour
I really wish I'd had the presence of mind to flip the camera over to video because these little guys don't just run on all fours ... nope ... it's up on those long, back legs and, knees pumping furiously, aw-a-a-a-ay he goes.