Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Yes Cinderella DID go to the Ball

I am fully aware that "Line Dance" and "Ball" placed in close proximity could be considered an oxymoron.
Nonetheless, once a year for the last 14 years, roughly 800 to 1200 Bootscooters, Two-Steppers, and the odd renegade Clogger, have forgathered in one of several venues in and around Melboune, on a Saturday evening in late June, in enough glitz, glitter and bling as to be considered overdressed by your average drag queen.

Indeed, I'm fairly certain that 'Good taste' and 'Bootscooting' have probably never before appeared in the same sentence
However, having not been to The Ball since 2003, I was more than happy to be offered a ticket / place on the bus about 3 days before the event, and on a weekend when David was unexpectedly in Respite.
Yee Ha! [ as it were ]

So, after a quick raid on the 'dressups' box in the shed, this is moi
Everything still fitted ... more or less
... and you might please bear in mind that I was considered perhaps a wee bit underdressed [ she says tongue firmly in cheek ]:black tiered peasant skirt and top, crazy patchwork tuxedo style vest, 70 year old rhinestones, my best competition-standard cowdy hat [ with $2 plastic tiara ] a belt buckle big enough to choke a horse, and fringed cowdy boots.


We were picked up about 45 minutes late by the chartered bus full of Bendigo dancers who had definitely already started celebrating, and headed down to Melbourne through a beautiful crisp winter day
that quickly deteriorated into solid-rain-and-football-traffic but still got out to Keysborough with time to spare.
This year there were only 70 dances on the program [ last time we went there were 88 ]
I did about 15 - 20 [ last time ? 80 ]
Given that I've had nearly a year off with the surgeries, 15-20 was probably about 5 too many so it's just as well I didn't know too many more, eh ?

This is self with my good friend Karen and her partner Malcom. Poor man doesn't dance and was probably bored out of his brain but hid it well[ish]
Amazing what I can achieve with a bit of Polyfilla and industrial strength makeup, isn't it ???

I didn't turn into a pumpin at midnight, or lose a glass slipper, and the dancing finished at 1 am.

Bus ride home through peasoup fog [ so glad I hadn't driven]
to be dropped off at Harcourt at 3.15 am - zero degrees - and a slow fogbound drive home from there, which saw me into bed around 4.

those flipping inconsiderate goats proceeded to demand breakfast approximately 5 minutes later, although my clock insists it was actually all of 7am.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

getting there

I know that I showed you this year's Christmas quilt ages ago , all beautifully quilted and lacking only its binding.
Some among you may have wondered why there has since been no photo and associated 'ta-da' of a finished object.
Well, the truth is that Christmas is still 6 months away and there have been other things on the agenda [ including getting the binding onto Nadie's quilt that she made for her God-daughter, which I also haven't shown you. Yes. I know. I have some catching up to do. Bad blogger. BAD BAD BAD ]

Anyway, that Christmas quilt has been languishing on the end of the couch, with her inner bits exposed to public gaze, for all this time and the only tender touch it has felt in all that time has come from a sucession of small animals:

who find it quite acceptable even with a needle parked in there somewhere.

Last weekend matters came to a head when Chris and Maz were indulging in some television in front of the fire and looking for some extra warmth. In this house there are two kinds of quilts - the ones on the walls and the others which are for sleeping under or being wrapped up in.
So naturally Chris made a grab for the nearest-and-largest and by extension, warmest. I had to leap into action to avoid one of them getting stabbed, and another, albeit smaller, couch quilt was hastily substituted with no harm done ... and most importantly, no blood on the quilt. Never let it be said that my priorities are out of whack.
Since then - when not engaged in the daily ritual bonfiring - guilt has forced me to re-engage with the binding, and there has been progress. Slightly less than one side remains to be sewn down.
Expect photographic proof soon ...

but it won't be today or tomorrow , because Cinders is going to The Ball and I'll tell you all about THAT tomorrow.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Why there haven't been any posts since Sunday

One of the realities of life on a bush block, is that 10 acres of 'mostly-trees-and-stunted-shrubby-things-and-grasses' can produce an awful lot of detritus in any given year.
True, some of that gets to just lie there and break down into mulch, but an awful lot of it - especially anything within a hundred yards/metres of the house - has to be disposed of one way or another before the next bushfire season.

Especially my arch nemesis the bloody Coffee Bush.
Mind you ... even though I had done a lot of pre-purchase research, I still bought a block that hadn't been adequately cleared for about a decade, and moved in on the first day of Summer.
Not the best of timing because I learned very quickly that one doesn't go blundering around in knee-high vegetation in snake season

... not unless one has a death wish
... or is very very stupid
... or doesn't think they need to listen to the veteran bushie living next door

I've been playing catchup in autumn / winter pretty much ever since.
It will possibly not have escaped the attention of longtime blog readers that, just prior to LAST bushfire season, I had multiple major surgeries and a slowish recuperation

so basically I'm almost a year behind in the grand plan
but this is okay
I rarely need an excuse for a good bonfiring [ in the proper season of course ]My inner pyromaniac has been having a wonderful couple of weeks

My back not so much, but I figure that's what industrial strength pain killers were invented for, right?

Rosie is helping

so is Bear

the cats are - of course - above such menial tasks and have opted for a supervisory role from the back of the couch

Sunday, June 20, 2010

I just couldn't decide

there were several possible topics for today's post:

I could've finally written about the cute I-Spy quilt my darling daughter has been working on [ which was actually finished a couple of weeks ago, but had to be kept under wraps until it was given to the intended recipient ]
I could've written about the sudden and devastating loss of one of David's friends, and his very moving funeral
I could have written about the pleasures associated with Maz-and-Chris's stay here from Thursday through till this morning
I could've written more about the desecration of our beloved botanical gardens
I could've shown you my spiffy new design wall, and the progress on Nadie-and-Chris' wedding quilt
or the week's knitting, both finished and in progress

ARRRRGH!my head is on overload ... warning! warning! meltdown in progress!

so you're just getting the totally gratuitous cute dawg sitting in his basket of toys

Friday, June 18, 2010

Before and after

this is what our 150 year old heritage-listed Botanical Gardens used to look like ...

new Grandma Robyn and Bear on the walking track:

Lake Joanna on a misty winter morning:

and the rotunda

and this is now [ when you click on the link click through to the 2nd and 3rd pictures. ]

Saturday, June 12, 2010

The Domestic Staff is otherwise engaged ...

... Dr Who Marathon on UKTV this Queen's Birthday Holiday long weekend apparently.

so I've commandeered the blog again to show you the sort of nonsense we have to put up with around here
Is this anyway to treat Royalty ?
If I wasn't such benevolent ruler I would have fired her on the spot.

HRH Princess Sophie

Friday, June 11, 2010

Free Pattern Friday: SeaMist Scarf or Stole

Finally [ and apologies because it took me longer than I anticipated ] here's the 'recipe' for my SeaMist Stole - which I mainly wear as a scarf, so I'm calling it both of those.

This was essentially an exercise to see how far I could go with a single ball of Noro Kureyon Sock which has a fairly impressive 420 metres per ball. If you want to sub another sock weight yarn, you'll need to watch the yardage.
NOTE: If you've never used Kureyon before, don't be put off by the stringy texture on the ball ... a nice bath in cheapo hair conditioner and it softens up quite nicely.

FURTHER NOTE: Kureyon changes colour approximately every 15 metres. As I knit that's a fairly close appoximation of one repeat of this pattern, however, as always, your mileage may vary.
It was pure chance that the ball I chose had a colour change just where I started my cast on. Serendipity really.

I added an extra eyelet row to the stitch pattern once I worked out that it would produce these lovely stripes.

Yarn: Noro Kureyon Sock [ colour 150 ] 1 ball or 420 metres of equivalent sock yarn
Needles: 5.5 mm / US size 9
blocked measurement: 58" x 16" [ could also block longer/narrower as a scarf ]

k knit
p purl
YO yarn over
psso pass slipped stitch over
k2tog knit 2 together
cast off = bind off


cast on 65 stitches loosely

row 1 [wrong side ] k
row 2 k 3, p to last 3 stitches, k 3
row 3 k
row 4 k 3, *YO, k1, slip 1, K2tog, psso,k1, YO, k1 repeat from * to last 2 stitches, k2.
row 5 k3, p to last 3 stitches, k3
rows 6 - 9 repeat rows 4 and 5 twice
row 10 repeat row 4

repeat these 10 rows [ approximately ] 27 times ending with rows 1 -3
and cast off loosely [ I went up one needle size for the cast off ]

wet block reasonably aggressively - it will grow quite a bit either in width or length - your choice!

for a narrower/ wider scarf stole, add or subtract stitches in multiples of 6 ... which will of course, affect your yardage

Please comment if you find errors

copyright 2010 Susan Iacuone for personal and charity use. You can knit these for sale, but please don't sell my free pattern or the karma fairy will visit your house and bite you in the bum.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

'T'is often said ...

the best laid plans of mice and men [ and most especially Catsmums ] 'gang aft agley'

Against all odds and expectations, friend Robyn's stepdaughter managed to hang onto her twinnies until 39 weeks and was induced today.
Ms Chloe Rose and Ms Ellie Mae arrived a couple of hours ago, fit and well and apparently quite big for twins. [ When I spoke to the proud nanna, they hadn't yet been weighed, but the expectation, as of last week's scan, was 6 pounds plus each ]
Net result being that I have had to do some emergency baby knitting this week,

as everything I had already produced was made on the premise that they would arrive early and tiny.

Let's face it, it is never ever a hardship to have to do unscheduled baby knitting
and the extra cardis, hats, bootees, etc can either wait for a suitable teeny weeny or will be donated to one of the NICU units.

pattern specs:
Saartjes Booties [ a very popular freebie ] - I lengthened the straps to 20 stitches for tieing rather than buttons
Baby Cable Cap [ another freebie from Judy Gibson ] on 4.5mm needles, cast on 28 and did 7 repeats rather than 6.
Hat#2 has a 6 row cable , hat#1 is a 4 row cable as per the pattern

Friday, June 04, 2010

Friday Fotos

You could say that 't'was a little bit chilly this morning [ minus .5 ]

Certain unimpressed caprines alerted me to the need to de-ice their drinking water

but on the plus side, I had a perfect excuse to cover myself in knitterly goodness:

my black alpaca wristwarmer/fingerless gloves
black merino cowl
hand knitted Brrripple socks [ which were not black, but inside cowdy boots the colour was largely immaterial ... although, just for the record and in the interests of full disclosure, they were green ]and
ta da

the latest iteration of the Weekender beret

I realise that you haven't actually seen versions one and two yet, but that gives me blog fodder for another day, right ?


found these Christmas bits and pieces at the Salvos Op Shop for the grand sum of 60 cents.
which I do realise has not the slightest connection to the rest of the post, but ... meh! ... can't always craft a clever segue, and I was thrilled to find 'em which is reason enough for a photo or two.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

A catz werk iz never dun

a missive from Her Royal Highness Sophie:

Sometimes one just has to put one's paw down.

Now, it's well known that I am a benevolent ruler ... kind ... gentle ... fair ... and generally prepared to let Catsmum [ aka The Staff ] have her head when it comes to the contents of this blog but let's be honest
there's been a disinct lack of feli-centric reportage lately.


and today she's been dithering about whether this post should be about all that knitting she's been doing lately, or about nadie's quilting activities ...
so while she makes up what has been laughingly referred to as her mind, I have decided to step in and commandeer the keyboard for a post about my own craft activities.

My primary role as patented yarn tensioning device is well documented

but you may not be aware that I am also rather talented when it comes to 'sitting-on-the-lap-of-the person-trying-to-embroider'

and also 'the-person-attempting-to sew-her-quilt-together' [ which happens to be Nadie in both cases ]what can I tell you ? I'm just rather good at multi- crafting.

and I have no idea how I ended up with this strange blank white box thingie in the post but The Staff can't seem to make it disappear .

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

yes, yes, bad blogger

If ever I seem to be not blogging as regularly as usual, or the posts are mainly photographic, there are probably one of two things happening ...

a] I'm unwell and don't feel the need to overshare
b] there's so much going on that I don't have time to sit down and construct a riveting post [ and when this happens I generally fall back on interesting photos ]

May was a b]-option month

some of it you know about
some not
so you're basically getting a precis version

Obviously top of the list was the arrival [10 days late ] of my 10 pound 4 ounce grandson, Noah James Iacuone.

that was sufficiently momentous that I have trouble remembering the rest.

There were 6 trips down to - and through - Melbourne. This is more than my average for any given year and was made up of

family visits x2, [Mothers Day and the new baby so good obviously ]
opera x2 [ so-so ]
dentist x2 [ 'nuff said ]

Nadie came up every second weekend to work on her first quilt, while I finally got stuck in to her wedding quilt. Mother/ daughter bonding activities are always going to be good. We are now negotiating how much of my stuff she can appropriate, and discussing the purchase of a better sewing machine.

I taught a couple of classes at Daylesford: Beginners Crochet and the monthly casual drop-in patchwork guidance group

There was a lot of raking/piling/ bonfiring / weeding and general block maintenance

Nadie and I totally reorganised the rumpusroom and moved pretty much every stick of furniture therein.

There was a modicum of goat wrangling, including finally working out where RubyHoudini has been getting out - sometimes several times a day - for the last 5 months.
This led to some very makeshift fence mending.
What is left of my garden is very grateful

I read [lots]
I knitted [ lots ]
I gardened [lots - mostly replacing the stuff Ruby decimated ]
I didn't make it to quilting
or choir

I fell and bruised both knees

and I got bitten by a spider while I was collecting wood. It fell down my shirt.
No I don't know what type it was.
By the time I was finished with the " euuuuck.... spider ..." accompanied by a frenzied tarantella and partial disrobing, Spidey had decided that discretion was the better part of not getting smooshed.

it was unpleasant for a few days, I still have a faint bite mark 2-3 weeks on, but otherwise I'm fine.

and no, I'm not showing you where I got bitten !