Friday, November 26, 2004

Bye bye burkey

G'day all1

Well what a sad day it is in my household. The last show of Burke's Backyard screened tonight. It has been part of my life for over 17 years. OK, so Don Burke is probably at least partly to blame for the 1990s proliferation of front yards that consisted of a weeping silver birch as a specimen "tree", a pathway lined by miniature English box hedges and standard Iceberg roses, then feature paving or white pebbling. Ick. I forgive him. After all his own garden is very relaxed and very Australian. And he has written a book about it that I am itching to buy but it seems to be Nathan's turn to spend our money at present.

However, on a good note, the baby bottoms are nearly sewn up. They are rather amusing, being mint and creamy white stripes. Pics when it cools down - the mercury reached 36 today and I am still trying to cool this end of the house down. I can't be stuffed making the effort of finding a clean bit of floor. Then I have to steam/block the jacket, sew up the shoulder sleeves so I can do the neckband and then sew it together. Voila! Done! Almost....

I've been having fun with my teensiest spindle. It is a bit wobbly but I am spinning yarn on it that is like mediumly thick sewing thread. It is quite amazing. I have noooo idea what I will use it for. Even after plying it will probably only be laceweight. Maybe I should start spinning on a bigger spindle....

Here's a pic of Nathan in some rainforest last weekend. That is a Nothofagus cunninghamii or southern beech he is standing under. Such fabulous plants. Great rich red wood in some too :-) Tree ferns all around. He didn't get any leeches on him either.

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

never ending baby clothes

G'day all!

I am in baby clothes hell. No matter how hard I knit on this baby outfit, I don't seem to make much progress. Others moan about sleeve island and then break out the margueritas, I moan about baby clothes knit in 4 ply! :-D

Of course I am making progress. I have done most of the top - it needs to be seamed and have the neckband and crocheted tie done. (One day I'll learn how to crochet well enought that the chains are even and noice.) It may just be that my new fibre is calling to me and I really want to spin rather than make baby clothes. Or maybe I want to start the next summer top, now that I know I need the shapely tank to be a bit longer bodied. Then again, I might knit something out of 1,000 Sweaters because unlike many knitters I know, I am small enough to fit into the medium or large sizes! The largest size are 38"/97cm bust - that's not big by any means! Except for the three sack shaped things... Still it is an interesting book for getting ideas. Plus it shows you how to do different neck treatments, different sleeves, pockets, belts....

So whilst I knit the stripey bottom of the baby outfit (short legs, enough to cover the nappy, stripes to amuse me - they really are amusing me cos it is mint and cream and looks delicious!) I can think about the new summer top in Bendigo cotton. Hmm. Must send in my order for more cotton too. $10.50 for a 200g cone! That is fab value. I am going to get the cones because I don't have a swift or a ball winder. I have to use the back of a chair and wind centre-pull balls by hand. Slightly tedious, especially when we are looking at 1,000s of metres of cotton. White cotton. White cotton-wot-gets-grotty-if-trawled-all-over-the-floor (we do vacuum! With a top of the range Dyson, but the carpet in our rental house is getting rather sad).

Apparently this is me:
Knitting Adventurer
You appear to be a Knitting Adventurer.
You are through those knitting growing pains and
feeling more adventurous. You can follow a
standard pattern if it's not too complicated
and know where to go to get help. Maybe you've
started to experiment with different fibers and
you might be eyeing a book with a cool
technique you've never tried. Perhaps you
prefer to stick to other people's patterns but
you are trying to challenge yourself more.
Regardless of your preference, you are
continually trying to grow as a knitter, and as
well you should since your non-knitting friends
are probably dropping some serious hints, these

What Kind of Knitter Are You?
brought to you by Quizilla

Hmm. Well the baby bottoms sure are an adventure! I have the sizing from one pattern and the design from another pattern! Hopefully the twain shall meet!

Here's a picture from our adventure on Sunday. Cement Creek, place of many leeches, taken from the safety of the metal walkway through the rainforest. Yep, we have rainforest less than 100km from the centre of Melbourne. Have I ever mentioned how fab this city is? :-D


Sunday, November 21, 2004

Fibrey goodness

G'day all!

What a full on weekend! Shopping (nearly $100 of fruit and vegies! Eek! But the organic shop took a far whack of that!), front end alignment of my baby (car), a trip through the Yarra Ranges, which was pretty fab I must say, even though I was attacked by two BLOOD SUCKING LEECHES! Silly beggars, they just looped up my leg looking for a good spot instead of hunkering down for a feed. I would've (note the correct grammar there - would have not would of!) not even noticed them if I had not felt somethings sorta cold and squidgy squirming up my leg.

Almost best of all, well certainly bbest of all for ongoing entertainment value was my trip to the Handweavers and Spinners' Guild of Victoria. Most excellent! Too many pretty spinning supplies. I went there cos I needed a pair of carders for my alpaca fleece. The dog brushes I bought were just toooo small - they only have brushes about the size of my palm (large woman's hand) and the wires were extra sharp and pointy, causing several nasty skewerings (yes, I had a tetanus shot last year, against doctor's advice cos they said I didn't need one. Ha!)

So I have some lovely student carders:
slightly used carders

Darn good price I believe too - $48.50 for the pair.

And here is some of the carded alpaca on my new spindle, made by yours truly from a toy wheel, a Tas oak dowel and a little ingenuity.
fuzzy alpaca wool spinning

Only problem was the fibre that managed to fly out of baskets into my arms:

soft fuzzy bright goodness

The 50 gram disc of amazingly lurid merino in orange, pink and yellow, which I am already starting to spin up cos it was soooo pretty.

sparkly black goodness

The silvery black mix of merino, alpaca and silk - not normally my colours at all but I thought it would be good and manly for someone.

multi_coloured goodness

The multicoloured merino silk that will match, within reason, my first serious lot of spinning - hopefully I'll be able to finish off a tote bag with this lot, eventually.

yummy icream fibrey goodness

The berry good mix of raspberry and blueberry merino and silk that I thought could eventually be a good present for my MiL next Mother's Day. After I've spun it and made something fab out it of course!

Heh. This quiz amused me. I am the Brute Squad!


Which Princess Bride Character are You?
this quiz was made by mysti

Monday, November 15, 2004

Some mental notes

G'day all!

Today's mental notes:

  1. Knit socks on 2.5mm needles - they seem to work out better. Certainly neater fitting.
  2. Knitting socks on 2.5mm needles seemingly takes forever.
  3. Knitting socks for largeish husband's feet definately takes forever.
  4. Frogging socks knitted on 3mm needles makes surprisingly small balls of yarn.
  5. Do not set up a BBQ on top of a wooden desk on some cardboard. Especially on the wooden verandah of a wooden house.*
  6. Change the kitty litter that sops up the drips from the BBQ before they catch on fire.
  7. Don't put the burning BBQ down in the driveway where your housemate can drive in and hit it. Car 1, BBQ 0.
  8. Don't expect said housemate to decide she wants the desk after a great big char mark has been put on the desktop.

*yes, my husband and his mechanical engineer mate DID this. Don't ask me why. They thought it was great. Don't mind me, I'm just a girl, what would I know about the likely outcome of flammable materials and BBQs?

Here's what my new sock looked like:
big hot sock

Here's what a sock looks like after it has been frogged and hand wound into a centre-pull ball:
little not sock

Here's what the new sock knitted on 2.5mm needles looks like:
lonely new sock

Here's what the new sock for BBQ-brained husband looks like at this stage:
porcupine of needles

It is a porcupine of needles but the yarn (search it for Patonyle) is really soft. I have no idea how well it will wear, but it is definately meant to be sock wool, with 20% nylon to toughen it up. At present, since it is only the tip of a sock, I think it looks a bit obscene somehow, like it is an item of intimate men's clothing, only a bit shorter than most men would admit to....

I hope you liked the flannelette sheets and pollowcase that don't match each other or the body pillow case. I thought it added a certain je ne sais quoi to the whole image.

Finally, here is your rose for the day, one of my very favourites. I give you David Austin's Graham Thomas:
20 buds and flowers of Graham Thomas


Thursday, November 11, 2004

Lest we forget

G'day all!

Another Remembrance Day is pretty much done. I am ashamed to say that I was in a course and we forgot to observe a minute's silence.

Why do I observe Remembrance day? Why do I buy a fabric poppy from the crustiest old bloke I can find?

My Pop was an ANZAC. He fought at Gallipoli. If you have seen the movie Gallipoli, he almost undoubtedly was one of the blokes having a ball in Cairo, pissing off the British and blowing off the officers. He fought at the Somme. He went AWOL for 23 days after his leave ended in England, yet managed to avoid being shot or hung for desertion when he went back (his commander must've fought so hard for him in the court martial). He had part of his face blown away, and his injuries were so bad that he was thrown off the truck during a retreat. They thought he would not survive. But he did - he fell in a puddle which FROZE overnight, and he was found by the Germans, who patched him up some and swapped him (so goes my version of the story - I am not sure of its veracity). He was one of the early plastic surgery recipients, which would explain why half his face never worked properly, not in any of the photos we have of him apart from the ones from before the war. His lungs certainly were scarred by mustard gas and he only had one kidney. He loved the Gattling Guns - we have a postcard where he enthuses about how many rounds per minute they fired - and moved into the machine gun corps. He got busted from corporal to private several times - we have a card saying busted again. He didn't seem to get along with authority well :-) He would not talk much about the war itself, only about other things like how wonderful the French women were. I guess they found this tall, lanky, blue eyed, curly blond haired Aussie interesting too!

Pop died when I was nearly 10. He had a stroke and faded over a week or two. My strongest memories of him are being scared of this tall old man with wild curly top of white hair, always neatly trimmed on each side, and a really husky rough voice, disgusting slobbery kisses from a bristly old face, and seeing him in the hospital when he couldn't talk due to being paralysed down one side, with his blue blue eyes sparkling at me, pleading with me for something I could not read. He died exactly 60 years to the day from 1916 when the Australian High Command sent a telegram advising that he had been killed in action.

My father missed out on fighting in WWII as he was in a protected industry, working for Holden. Presumably he worked on building trucks and stuff for the war effort. He taught women how to weld and said they were the best apprentices he ever had. They listened, they learned and they did a very neat, clean job, unlike the male apprentices he took on after the war in his own panelbeating business. I think he missed having women working with him later, for they were much easier to work with and teach. I guess this gave my father an unusual grounding for a man of his era. After the Old Man moved into a supported care place, we found an old wallet in his wardrobe, a wallet asking him to an interview for the RAF/Royal Australian Air Force. I hope my sister kept that wallet, cos it contains precious family history. We can't ask Father about anything like this now cos his memory is shot. He is 86, so it is fair enough.

I buy poppies for Pop. I grow Flanders Poppies in my front and back yards. I love the way they grow wild from seed year after year. I love their blood red petals with the black spot at the base. I love their fuzzy buds and serrated leaves. Most of all I love what they mean to me.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Interesting possibilities

G'day all!

Over the last few days much of my knitting effort has been aimed at sock knitting, especially my lovely new sock in progress - teal, green and navy marl. It is taking longer than the last ones - i don't know if that is a factor of the cotton/wool/polyamide mix or the 0.5mm difference in needles or what.

One thing fascinates me about knitting with double pointed needles. They offer so many opportunities to poke oneself in various parts of the body, particularly the eye. (Reminds me muchly of Flanders and Swann's "Design for Living" - "I'm delirious about our new cooker fitment with the eye-level grill. This means that without my having to bend down the hot fat can squirt straight into my eye!")

The possibilities are ENDLESS! I wear glasses for most of the day - blind as a bat without them - but if I decide to indulge in a little sock knitting in bed... oh dear! No glasses, so I bring the knitting closer to my face, which provides even more opportunity for me to skewer an eyeball or two! I watch the needles waving madly a centimetre or two from my nose - almost hypnotic! Nathan rolls over and the danger level rises. Will he bump my arm or my knitting just so?

Here's your rose for today's post:
Abe Darby
Abraham Darby, I think. Certainly an Austin.


Tuesday, November 09, 2004

once upon a time

There once was a blogger called Lynne. Lynne liked doing knitting and playing with yarn and spinning stuff. But Lynne was a very bad blogger who didn't get the shots she wanted of her creations, so she talked about them instead.

Not so long ago, in a not very distant at all land, Lynne started making herself a new hat to replace the hat she had made that was a little small. She thought it was a very funky hat, rather similar to the one on Marnie's website (check out her free patterns) but it was too small and hurt her head when she wore her glasses (necessary for Lynnes to see beyond their own noses, which may be on the larger side but are not that big).

Then Lynne could not find the second ball of yarn she had bought especially to make the new hat. Nowhere could it be seen at all. So Lynne had to make the long haul from the edge of the city to the centre of town in one of her lunchbreaks to buy some more yarn from the only place in town that stocks it.

Lynne's mother in law sent home a picture that was their wedding present to us. In the bag, Lynne found something very interesting. She found that she had already started knitting the hat at her parents' in law place and had stowed the knitting in the bag with the painting.... so now Lynne had half a knitted hat and half of another hat knitted to a variation of the pattern, and neither the twain shall meet.....

So Lynne kept knitting on the second, now third hat and made herself a very nice new hat:
new funky hat in Ragamuffin. Note that Lynne was not wearing glasses when modelling the hat - be glad you cannot see all the photos that looked fine until Lynne put her glasses back on and realised it was not just her fuzzy eyes at fault.

The hat is knitted out of Paton's Ragamuffin, sadly discontinued, another synthetic yarn that can be a pain in the rear area to knit cos it will split madly given a chance but it looks like an abstract stained glass window and Lynne loves it!

Saturday, November 06, 2004

Rain rain go away....

come again another day!

Well since Tuesday last we've had close on 100mm (4 inches for you old timers) of rain. Lots of honest to god stormy rain, but even more miserably drizzly rain.

Nathan and I got cabin fever and had to go out for a while today. Lord help us if we lived somewhere where you get blizzards and can't get out of the house for days - we can go out in this weather but it isn't as pleasant as it could be. It had been dully grey but mostly dry all morning. So I start driving and it starts PersISting down! Typical! And topping it off nicely, I discovered some sod had driven into my car and dinted the front quarter panel between the door and the wheel. Gadzooks I hate hate HATE drivers who damage other people's cars but think it's only a scratch, they won't mind.... Interesting isn't it that a cars guide I read said look out for little dings in the panels of the model car I drive because their OWNERS don't care about them! Hello! Can I open the door into the side of my own car and ding it? Do I ding other peoples' cars? Can I put a scratch into my back bumper by leaving my car parked legally and coming back to find someone has left a heap of white paint scraped into the turquoise plastic bumper? Or someone else has flung open their car door so hard that when it hit my car it left a 1cm deep dint and the car alarm went off?


On a happier note, I've finished the first green/red/orange sock. It is about 0.5cm too long for my foot but the whole package is pretty reasonable. I've altered the afterthought heel pattern cos it was too long, so I've tapered it in more quickly. I have pictures, I just have to photoblog them and also work out exactly what I did do in my alterations so I can do it again plaise! Also, whilst the width of the sock fits my foot quite well, it is saggy around my ankle. I guess that is cos I have broad feet and relatively slender ankles. I'll go down 0.5mm in needle size for the next pair. Cos there will be a next pair! Then I have to make Nathan some. Despite his being 195cm, he only has size 10 feet - minute for a bloke his size!

I am also making a couple more little snazzy bags for the market on Saturday, assuming Karen is doing the market. They might be reasonable sellers if I price them right.

I could really do with a good dose of sunlight right now. It is just so dull and grey. Not even my socks are brightening things up much!


Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Birthday girl

Well it is not such a good day today. Looks like the American people have voted for blasted Bush. Like how STUPID are these people? Can't they see the damage his administration has done to the USA? And the rest of the world?


So the birthday girl is grumpy cos it is bad enough having an Australia full of idjits - we are nothing on the world scale. International bully boy America has voted Dubya back in. And if I go to the US, I will be treated like a common criminal upon entry - I have to be finger printed! Why? Cos I want to enter the USA and I might commit some crime or become a terrorist. As if! Do they think I want to be stuck in the USA on a permanent basis in some blasted jail or worse when I have my lovely Australia to live in? Hellooooo!

I did get some nice presents. Nathan carefully wrapped up the gifts I bought myself yesterday (guess who forgot his wallet?), well if you count carefully as being he couldn't find the sticky tape (of which there are countless rolls scattered around the house) so he just scrunched the paper up at the ends in the hope that would hold it together. He proudly stated that he had removed the price tags, as if I didn't know how much they had cost cos I picked them out and paid for them.... Then when I "unwrapped" them what is the first thing I saw? All the price stickers on the FRONT of them.

Nathan also proudly states that he hasn't a romantic bone in his body. It is true, all true. He did try today but really.... So I now have the soundtracks for The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers (already had RotK), the new Cecelia Dart Thornton book and the book You are what you eat, not that I wanted it particularly but I thought it would be handy for Nathan.

I think I'll hop onto Amazon and order me some more books. Can't get them here in Oz or they are more than double the price they are in the USA. That seems like a bit of a scam to me.

Elspeth sent me a lovely square gold brooch of a couple of Celtic dogs intertwined around each other. And the most bizarre card of an octopus made out of a banana peel. It is truly odd and inspiring. I think I shall stick it up somewhere where I see it a lot.

Did yoga for the first time tonight. I think I am going to be very sore tomorrow. Nathan is going to be very sore very soon if he doesn't get off his butt and make me my birthday dinner!

So my birthday this year is going to be pretty average. No romancing, only yoga, probably cooking my own dinner, and Dubya is going to remain president of the most powerful country in the world. Sigh.


Monday, November 01, 2004

finished objects, almost

G'day all!

It is over a week since I blogged. How bad of me! But it was a very busy week, what with being out two nights (including an SnB) and then having to deal with Nathan who seems to have pulled out of his flat spot, then a parental BBQ.

I've got some finished objects to show peoples. Yes indeedy! OK, one isn't really finished but I only have about thirty ends to weave in properly - and thought I had woven in at least half as I went along! Ack!

So here is the evil top of many loose ends:
oo la la top of many loose ends

It is made out of Merino Supreme. I dyed the magenta and purple myself and am very pleased with the variegated (or as a shop spelt it varragated!) effect. It is very flattering and makes my bust look enormous, or maybe that is just the camera and lighting. It isn't anywhere near that impressive, honest. My front porch, that is. Annoyingly, my skin gets slightly irritated by the neck and arm bands.

Then there is the cotton top that I ended up having to put beads in the eyelets - it seemed to have more eyelets than material when I tried it on....
first cotton tank

This is just some Bendigo Woollen Mills cotton. Bought cheap out of their backroom. Funny that they do cotton since they are a true woollen mill. Again, it is a fitted top and makes my boosage look quite impressive. The next one I make I'll make a bit longer waisted cos I need the extra length - it is belly button skimming and I want a little further down than that. Maybe I'll do a fancy edge on it or something if I ever get my hands on a good book.

Then there is this - an almost finished object.
do not adjust your monitor

Lurid isn't it - do not adjust your monitor! The yarn is very bright and I thought I needed to put it on one of my most lurid plants - a Geraldton Wax (chaemelucium but i think I've misspelt it), one of my very favourite flowers. We saw Geraldton Waxes in the wild about 100km north of Perth, but I think they may be a bit weedy there. They were all over the coastline. Obviously they tolerate poor soils and salinity pretty well.

There's a small problem - where is the heel? I've decided to do an afterthought heel and see how that goes. look ma no heel

The second sock is already started - I only started knitting these socks in earnest on Friday morning (I was crook and sock knitting seemed excellent). I am using Wendy's toe up sock pattern for the toe and will use Jill Schaefer's afterthought heel for the heel.

I love what is written on the socken labelen goodness label of the sock yarn - machine washable, ?guaranteed filz free (pill free?) and extra strapazierfahig. Man that extra strapazierfahig just makes it all the more special for me! Plus this "German" sock yarn is made in Italy is is Lana Grossa, which my very poor latin suggests means gross or big wool.

Here's your quiz - who is your Star Wars twin. My results, with nathan as my other are here. I am particularly pleased with being as organised as Han Solo and as sociable as a Wampa :-) LOL. Nathan is as neurotic as a Tusken Raider. LOL. I've done the test three times and gotten slightly different results each time.

Finally, my current favourite rose - Austrian Copper, of the R. foetida group. I love the overly heavy scent. Others don't, hence Rosa foetida.

Well that is your bloomin' lot for the moment, so enjoy!