Sunday, May 31, 2009

Hooray, May is over!

G'day all!

Here's to June!

May is not my favourite month. I've said that plenty of times before. Back 'ome, May is when winter can make its first appearance for the year. The days have shortened off and it can get cold (ok, the temp rarely dips below freezing and I am talking about the overnight temps here). But worse, May is the Deathiversary month for both my parents.

Yesterday was a bad day, always is. I thought the Maker Faire would be good but with a husband acting like a hyperactive overstimulated child it was rather annoying.

Plus something has come up Back 'Ome that I've responded to with a sense of abandonment. Actually two things. A couple of people have done stuff I didn't really expect and suddenly I am five (six, seven, eight, nine, ten, all the way to my late teens) and feel left out/unimportant again. Obviously I am not as over the past as I thought! I guess it is one of the dangers of being far away - out of sight, out of mind. Things have changed Back 'Ome in the nearly two years we have been away, and we are not part of those changes. We've changed too. Nathan has matured somewhat and I've turned into (even more of) a hermit.

And I seem to have lost my latest lot of knitting with the project bag that was my favourite. D'OH! Tomorrow I have to go see if it was handed in to the apartment managers here or the Caltrain. So no photos of it! It was pretty. Very pretty. I shall tidy up again tomorrow and see if it doesn't turn up but it seems unlikely at this stage. I'll check under the car seats too - I was lazy and took the car to the station instead of the light rail cos if we took the car we'd get to the faire a whole hour earlier - the Caltrain only runs once an hour on the weekends, even on days with big events like the Maker Faire. And gosh it was getting pretty full!

That's my rant.

I'd better get wriggling with all the trip photos that I have not edited. I am soooo behind. There's even pics from Yosemite in January, plus a bucketload of other old ones, not just the Easter trip and the Shasta trip to edit and stick on Flickr yet. Mebbe I'll eventually blog them too. Do not hold your breath! I would be sad if you were long dead and buried waiting for me to get the thousand pics edited.

I look forward to June. Tomorrow is 99c day on (x colour - pupo?) at Savers. Maybe they will have restocked on brightly coloured tshirts for my rug. Or I could go to Beverley's and see if they accept Joann's vouchers (I think they do) and get some new blades for my rotary cutter along with some extra material for the quiltalong I joined and am already running late for. I am supposed to have 12 different half-yards of material and I only have six half yards that sorta work together. Retail therapy is bad. I am naughty. At least I can use six half yards of what I have!

ETA - must link this. FMyLife. Oh dear it is funny! And sometimes sad and tragic. When I am feeling a bit down, this page has me in stitches within seconds. Apologies to those who write the stories but some of them will make great stories for the grandchildren/nieces nephews....


Saturday, May 30, 2009

Warning warning! FO ahead!

G'day all!

I finished my robot monster bag. Warning! Warning!



Fear the robot monster! (even in blurry shots)

He has a zippered compartment on his back and on his head.

After wearing him today, his head has gotten a little floppy. I guess I can either sew it to the straps (more sewing through cordura bias binding! Argh! My fingies have not yet forgiven me! Oh and most metal thimbles are too small for my fingers so they are not helpful.) The head pocket is pretty small - it is only meant for little things like keys and batteries. The body pocket is large enough for my wallet, a sock/one ball project, a bag of Corn Thins, a foldy bag and say a book. It isn't very big. He wasn't uncomfortable either, which is a nice change! Details on Ravelry.

Anyway, we've done the Maker Faire again. It was not as GEE WHIZ as last year cos we knew more what to expect and also there was a lot of LED and arduino stuff there. Like LOTS. Along with experimental music stuff. LEDS are pretty but a lot of people seem to be having the same ideas with them. It felt like there was less crafty stuff for some reason, maybe because the Craft mag folded when the Make people couldn't keep up with it.

(rant about husbands who need to be on leashes at the Maker Faire deleted)


Wednesday, May 27, 2009

RAH! Robot monster!

G'day all!

I've been knitting madly on my robot monster. I think he is wayyy cool but he doesn't have a lining yet and his gussety sides are not put together or even completely knitted yet. He is meant to be a back back.


Here he is before I picked up eleventy-billion stitches all around the edges (oh dear, a certain bit of B5 music from the end has started playing and I always get a bit sniffly when it plays. Yes I am a nerdy geek and proud of it).

I am hoping to have him done by the Maker Faire this weekend. I even lugged him on the bus to Joann's today on my quest for a) foam to put in his arms and legs and head knob and b) 5 replacement blades for my rotary cutter. I got the first but the latter were sold out cos they are only $20 instead of $32. Sigh.

Anyway, the knitting is nearly done. Another hour and he'll be cast off. Then I have to make the lining (am hoping Bobbin's Nest has a robot theme material cos I don't at present) with TWO zippers and also make the straps so that I can wear him as a back pack.

After our trip around parts north of here, and not finding a plant nursery with natives suitable for our patio, I rode off to the Wednesday farmers' market. It isn't as good as our local one but given we only had carrots and broccoli and it is just under 3 miles away I am not fussing. Better than buying from WholeFoods. But it does have something *fantastic.* To me at least.


A native plant nursery! Native Revival. And even better, he had one of the plants I could not figure out at all from last weekend's trip (doesn't help that I don't have any form of taxonomic key now that I took the excellent Californian desert wildflowers book back to the library). After I'd done a little shopping (very small selection of vegies today but if I wanted raspberries, strawberries, apricots, cherries and even peaches!!!! I was fine), I bought a couple of plants and brought them home on the bike.


OK, the plants are not completely native in that they are hybrid selections but at least their parentage is native. That is a start and it also means they will be much more suited to container gardening. A lot of natives straight from the bush don't do so well in cultivation - the fertilising regime, the water, the lack of really deep roots in pots etc knocks them around.

(Oh great. Someone has set off their smoke alarm and it is beeping high then low. But they seem to have worked out how to make it not beep at all. Hooray.)

I miss having a garden (links to housesitter's flickr account with pic of garden out front and Cheshire our trannie puss). Our garden at home is doing surprisingly well even though the rainfall total for the year to date is the second lowest ever. We reuse the shower water in the front yard, we have quite a bit of water storage capacity for when it does rain, dunno if our house sitters are using the washing machine rinse water out the back on the fruit trees - hope so cos they will be doing it tough without it. I like to potter in the garden, pull out weeds, encourage the plants I like - grow, GROW! Oooh look at you you little beauty! wave the camera at particularly good specimens - and generally hang out in it. I have some plants here - I am daily encouraging the climbing beans up the strings of their climbing frame. The corn isn't doing as well as the beans prolly cos it hasn't gotten big enough to get good sun. I have some ornamental plants but I try to focus on things we can eat. We've got corn, beans, lettuce, capsicums (bell peppers), some extremely sad strawberries (cos someone planted them out on the weekend that hit 100F almost...oops), basil (I think), some badly munched bok choi (thanks to the snail that ate the sluggo LAST and the one caterpillar that mowed what the snail didn't get) and some herbs.

There's talk of mandatory water rationing here this year. You know what that will mean? People will only be allowed to water their lawns every second day! Australians will laugh themselves silly over that. Wherever water rationing has been introduced in Oz, the first thing that is made illegal is watering of grass and use of a hose to wash a car or a footpath (sidewalk)/driveway (concrete does not grow!). Then they ramp it up - in Melbourne, gardens are only allowed to be watered for two hours on two days of the week I believe now. There's talk of banning all watering of gardens but I think there'll be a citizen's uprising first. Given that Australians are pretty blase about stuff, that is saying something. The gardeners amongst us are very keen. I think that Americans would rise up and overthrow the government if they were not allowed to water their lawns.

Which reminds me - I must tell the apartment office that one of the sprinklers here is broken and is shooting water halfway up the enormous liquidambar (sweetgum).

Enough rambling. Must finish the knitting on the monster so I can sew him up tomorrow when it is light and I can see.


Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Move along vII

G'day all!

We are back from our trip around NorCal. Very pleasant, thank heavens we only took 800 photos and vids, mostly crufty so I don't have to worry about putting them on Flickr!

So I get back and write up my list of classes I would not mind doing at the Sock Summit.

After all that planning, poor Steph and Tina are dying cos the site crashed 5 minutes after it opened. I know it is embarrassing but it is NOT the end of the world. Really. It is a hiccup, a bump along the way. It isn't life threatening.

Feel the power of knitters, foolish mortal geeks!

As DH points out, knitters are supposed to be patient. HA! Impatient, desperate MUST GET THAT PRIZE NOW GEDOUTTAMYWAY!

Hmm, from the chat on Ravelry I am unlikely to get into any of the stuff I'd like to do. Ah well. There might be next year but I can also just go and hang out in the market place. I'd like to see the luminary panel on Sunday, unlikely to get into that too by the sounds of it. No, no I do tell a lie, out of about 10 things I would like to do, I can get into the luminary panel cos there are a THOUSAND tickets for that.

Anyway, I have wanted to go to Portland for some time. If we take the train up there and have Saturday and Sunday and half of Monday, that will be good. Hopefully DH's friends there can show us around some again or if it comes to it we can hire a car.

ETA - got into a class I really wanted to do. Am happy now. Sunday is wiped out.

Knitting news? Umm, well I started making a sock out of some yarn I was gifted and well let's just say the yarn wants to be something other than a sock. No matter what pattern I thought up, it did not want to be knitted that way - it has some terribly ugly striping going on. The yarn has three colours in it and one side of the foot is one colour and the other side is the other two colours. I can shift that a bit but it isn't working for me. Maybe I'll make sideways socks out of it - that might work! Only I have to find a nice pattern. I should just cave and buy that making socks with handpainted yarn book.

Oh and I am making a robot monster out of a new (to me) Noro yarn in lurid colours. I plan to turn the monster into a back pack. Best get wriggling with it cos I want to have him done in time for the maker faire this weekend. Whilst we were away, a waitress came and asked me what I was knitting - it was so pretty! Umm, a robot monster. It's going to be a bag. Just as well we were in a hippy town then cos I only got a strange look not a OMG this person is WEIRD!

Ah, I should be posting another macro shot but given I have NO guesses at all from last week, I figure I am making this stuff waaaaay too hard, mebbe making me look like a smarty-pants, mebbe I should give up. I had ideas that it would be fun and lots of people would join in but I guess not. Gosh how completely manage to get things wrong!


Friday, May 22, 2009

FO - sandart socks

G'day all!

The fugly socks are finally done!


They took a while cos I only knit them on the bus or when I am out at something. (I have a really bad case of the hiccoughs, excuse me for a moment... ah that is better I think!) After showing them off at the meetup on Wednesday, they have been renamed to the fugly sand art socks.




These are my PSC socks for May. Of course now I don't have any socks to knit so I think I will wind up some lovely yarn sent by the lovely Mrspao and start knitting that (though I really need lightweight socks for summer). Of course I really should test two patterns I am thinking of releasing but we are going away for this long (memorial day) weekend and I want something braindead that I can just knit knit knit (assuming I get the chance cos I'll be driving all the way to Mt Shasta, which reminds me, must find stuff online about what to see along the way).


Details on Ravelry.


This week, oh dear, so much of my energy went into making a practice version of the tunic I want to make.

Can anyone tell me WHY I chose the hardest pattern to cut out and make? I kid you not. It is a princess line pattern - that is ok, they fit nicely and look nice. But they do require a lot of fussing to ease the curve of the bustline into the front piece. The sleeves were in TWO pieces. Plus they were supposed to be faced at the bottom because they have a curve in the hem.

Here's me, having not done any fancy sewing in quite some time. I've never been a great seamstress, even though I made my own wedding dress (that was cos I am cheap and couldn't find anything like what I wanted - they all wanted me to have an early spring wedding in a dress that was made for a hot summer day - no sleeves, no top part at all beyond what was needed for modesty. I would've been blue!). My sewing machines (I'm monogamous with them - Mum's Singer that died after 30 years of service, my Janome at home, the Singer here) and I have had *interesting* relationships at best.

All I wanted to do was a mock up to see if the size I had chosen (14) actually fitted me.

The knock out blow was the neckline. I assumed the fancy neckline was applied over the top of the tunic.

No. No it wasn't.

The neckline forms the shoulders and neckline of the tunic. It is absolutely vital to the, ahem, integrity of the garment. Without it, the thing won't stay up because there is nothing to hold it up at shoulder level.

So I spent the best part of TWO whole days wrangling this thing into shape. At least I've had some practice now at screwing up putting in a zipper. The fabric stretched as I sewed it in. I've put in zippers successfully before but not in an old sheet. I guess the material was very soft.

The outcome? A dress with no hem, a poorly set in zipper and the facings around the zip are not finished off either. It does fit reasonably well. There's a minor problem, apart from it not being finished and not being my colours. You won't see a pic of me in it for that very reason.

It is dead see-through. Like you can see every mole and freckle I have, along with the colour of my knickers and what I had for lunch (I may be exaggerating on the last). I had not really thought I'd wear it but y'know I had thought I'd finish it and send it on its way to the op shop. But now? I guess it will be rags!

At least I now know what size to cut out for myself.


Given that I have not had even ONE entry for the wotisit for this week, I must really be making them hard. Dang. I thought this week's one would be easier, especially for people who love getting out into their gardens and looking closely at things.

I'll be a bit late for dealing with entries this week for wotisit, if I get any, as I'll be getting back late on Monday. I mucked around with the blog format last week then set it back the way it was cos it was too hard to work out how to change the html. Mebbe I busted bloglines or something.


I've been doing a writing exercise this week, as espoused in the Artist's Way. I thought it would be an interesting thing to do. Oddly enough, rather than feeling amazingly creative afterwards, I find myself not wanting to be creative! Not wanting to blog, not wanting to do much craft, preferring to go out someplace. Of course it may not be the writing that is the problem but the dud of a tunic. The tunic isn't really a failure - I thought I did not expect it to be "me" but I expected it to be easier! Maybe I secretly hoped I could wear it after all that work. But it achieved its purpose - I know what size to cut out. I also know to do the simpler shapes in the patterns I've picked up.

I've also joined a quilt along to see if I can't get some skills going there. I think I'll try putting together some fabric from my stash, though twelve different half yard lots that coordinate may be beyond me - I can put together about have a dozen. Maybe it should have half a dozen of two clashing colourways? Yeah!

I'm feeling a bit lost today. I think it is because I am waiting for a phone call to go pick the car up. Whilst I wait, I do little things, like wind some yarn or vacuum the living area or tidy up something or put away my washing or write a list of things to take for this weekend (must find out what the weather will be). The little things are adding up but the waiting - gosh I hate waiting! I have a hat to knit, I have lots to do and even more things to do when I get the car back (not that I have driven the car since the Napa trip except for driving to the car place today), I just don't like waiting! Waiting waiting waiting.... was hoping Mr Car would be back by now. It will be good to have the car in tip top working condition again. Did I ever say what happened?

I drove over a rock at a lookout near Death Valley, weeks ago. I didn't realise that there was any damage - it wasn't obvious. It just scraped and nothing was seen to be wrong.

So we drove on. I'm doing 70 (mph) down a long hill with the wind coming diagonally across the car from the driver's side. Car starts making a funny noise. We all look at each other and I decide to stop, with full consent from my passengers.

Hmm. The plastic tray that sits under the engine and protects it from stones/sticks/etc and also catches any drips has split. It is dragging on the ground on the side that has the fan belt, alternator belt, yadda yadda. It is also bent and is perilously close to the disc brake and said belts.

I sacrificed a pair of scissors to the cause (scissors are still usable, just have one blunt spot). AM crawled partway under the car and started hacking away - I knew there was a good reason for taking him along! Nathan is too big to fit and I am a girlie and won't get mucky if someone else can get mucky for me (except for garden dirt but garden dirt is good for me!). He and Nathan ended up pulling the whole thing away on the right side.

Only problem is now I can't drive on dirt and gravel roads for fear that a stone or something will get up into the belts and cause Issues. Even California has gravel roads. So Mr Car is getting fixed. (He needs a better name but I've not come across one that suits him well. It should be German. Das auto is boring. Hermann the German is taken.)

So I expect to be back early next week with Even More Photos to Avoid Editing and Uploading. I take soooo many and sooo many don't get to go on Flickr even!


Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Winnah! And an FO

G'day all!

In our first prize draw of the wotisit series, we have a winner! Minnie, come on down! Tell me what sort of colours you prefer and I shall dig in my stitchmarkers (never put up on Etsy) and send them off to you! (Oh an address would be handy too - email isn't good at sending lumpy or even very flat things!)

In other news, I finished the top for my LYS.


I would give you the yarn details but all I know is that it is worsted weight cotton in a colourway hand-dyed for my LYS. I think I used just under 5 skeins but am not sure cos the yarn came unlabelled and I didn't take any notice. It may be just under four skeins. I think I used a 5mm needle.


The pattern is by Lorna Miser. It is linked on Ravelry here.


I've as usual got too many pics.


The picking up of stitches along the side and for the sleeves was a pita, quite frankly. The method of increasing on the sides (kf&b) leaves a little bar (This is still one of my favourite increases still). This little bar is inevitably a different colour to the stitches around it and to the yarn picking up stitches. It makes things a bit annoying due to changing where the stitches have to be picked up.

The needle is pointing to where the next stitch will be picked up.

The cable of the needle is "pointing" to where the stitch will be picked up, below the bar.

Anyway, time to go to knitting meetup.


Monday, May 18, 2009

Wotisit Monday 4

G'day all!

Gosh, I am making these too hard, aren't I?

Last week, I showed you this:


followed by this:


They are the early and late stage seedpods of Liquidambar (known as sweetgum in the States - that second link has some pics from a random blog). The green one still has the flowers on it, the brown one has opened up and all bar one of the seeds has escaped. When the seed pods opened on the tree outside our apartment and dropped the seeds, it sounded like a very soft, gentle rain was falling. Quite bizarre. Anyway, noone got it completely right but some people guessed it was some sort of flower - that was right! So anyone who guessed flower or seed gets a point.

This week I hope I have one that is a little easier.

What is sitting on the leaf? If you can name it down to the species level, you get five points ;-) Common name gets a point, specific common name gets 5 points.

Send your answers to natiel three one one at gmaildotcom.

Tomorrow I will announce who has won the first prize draw - a set of 5 glass or stone stitchmarkers in a colour of the winner's choice. And I'll show off a newly finished knit for the local yarn shop. And hopefully it won't be warm and humid tomorrow (different from just plain hot but I think I'll take hot, thanks!).

I have to share a little something with you. It is not nice to make fun of people with speech impediments. I am going to any way. So some of you might know that I am a bit of a B5 nut. For a long time every time someone said "green," I said "purpo." If they said purple, I said "gryn." (If you don't get it, it is ok cos B5 is only a tv show and it isn't the end of the world or anything.) Well anyway, today in the op shop, it was 99c day for purple tagged items. The chap comes on the PA to remind us all that it is pew-po tag 99c day. The whole place just rippled as people either said purple or pew-po. A (black) lady came over to me as I stood there bemused/chuckling and said, "I'm glad I'm not the only one amused."

So now it is not purple or purpo, it is pewpo!

Finally, a link to a fishing cat kept as a domestic puss. Methinks Chaos has a little ways to go before he looks this fierce! (WARNING! If you do not like gore do NOT look beyond the pic of the fishing cat dragging the fish around.)


Saturday, May 16, 2009

Oh my, summer's here!

G'day all!

We are getting a taste of summer here in the Bay area. Oh boy! If you read all of this post, you will see it has addled my brain. I hope it doesn't addle yours too!

We went for a walk to the library this afternoon, in the heat of the day. People have this weird idea that the hottest time of the day is when the sun is highest, just like there is some idea that the hottest weather should be around solstice, when the hottest (and the coldest) weather is usually around a month or so after solstice. Can I just say that where I've lived, the hottest parts of the day are the late afternoon, when the sun is slanting and everything's broiled for a good part of the day.

Admittedly it was only about 33C but sheesh, it felt amazingly hot with the sun blasting down from a cloudless sky, the heat radiating off the concrete path.... (last time I remember heat like that off a road or path was the first time I went to Bobbin's Nest and it was a 100F day...)

This weekend is the annual Boogie and the Bayou festival in Campbell. They have artsy/crafty booths along with some local business things and other stuff. But that is not the important part of the festival as far as I can tell. Nope, the important part seems to be a) drink as much as you possibly can, b) be seen, c) if you are female, show as much of your boobs off as possible whilst still remaining "decent."

It's pretty sad when you see forty-something women staggering home dead drunk at 3pm. You would think they would've learned by now. I guess at least they were walking and not driving. And their tops did not display their considerable boobage in ways non-commensurate with dignity. (Oh and I am a forty-something woman - these are my age peers I am talking about!)

Anyway, I've been knitting and spinning and plying and doing all sorts of stuff. I've finally managed to stick some posters onto the bike-jousting wood - I painted some of the wood black and then put holographic glitter paint over that (cos it is holographic glitter and just has to be everywhere!), and painted some of the wood just with holographic glitter, then cut the wood to size, tacked on little saw-tooth picture hangers (one of the hangers just did not want to go on one bit of wood and the air turned a delicate shade of blue as I fought with hammer, jeweller's pliers and teensy little nails), and stuck the posters on with glue dots. Now we have three posters in our bedroom, one of the Great Sand Dunes, one of Zion and one of Lake Tahoe. I keep looking and seeing something on the wall! My god, there's something on the wall! It's HUGE! Quick, quick, what is it? Oh it is the poster I hung this morning! (I'm also seeing a cat walk into the lounge room when the fan blows the edge of the material that covers the 18" speaker - for some reason the triangle of material looks like a cat's leg and ear. Given we don't have a cat living with us and haven't had for nearly two years ...)

On Thursday I rode to Nathan's work with him for Ride to Work Day. I thought it would knacker me because I've had this weird cold/hayfever thing (since when did a cold respond to anti-histamines? But mine did) and had a cough and a snotty nose (I still do to some extent). After riding in, I felt great! More please! So I rode another mile or two to the heritage rose garden, had a look see (not as good as it was two weeks ago and I have not shared the photos! My bad!), went across to Michael's (found the picture hangers of my dreams), bought some Tim Tams from World Market, rode another mile or two to the SJ Rose Garden in the Rose Garden area and then caught the bus home. I thought at this stage I would collapse but no, I was the Energiser Bunny! I mounted and hung one of the posters, I knitted, I cut out a tunic, I straightened some cashmere yarn that has to be plied up, I crocheted up some more of the tshirt rug, I made dinner and cleaned up immediately after... Then I collapsed!

The energy was like some wall had been breached. I suddenly just did things that I had been fussing about. It was very odd. I did wonder if I was manic but I didn't have urges to do stupid things or over the top things, just things that I had wanted to do for ages. I've calmed down a bit since then but I am still making progress on things that I had stalled on. I even persuaded the printer to print out a large picture from our holidays - until now I've only been able to get photo-sized shots by putting the card into the printer and printing direct (it has been printing documents, just not pictures by themselves).

(that is the pic I printed out. It is from Zion National Park. Zion is drop dead gorgeous and soon I will wade through the gadzillions of Grand Canyon pics and start on the Zion ones instead. We loved Zion more than the GC.)

It was only later on that I discovered that the tunic I had cut out was going to be a bit breezy. I found the tissue for the back of it lying on Nathan's side of the bed.... I had not cut out the back! LOL

Back to today. Today was quite sedate by comparison. I cut out the missing back of the tunic. I knitted up one sleeve of the shop model. I planted the strawberries in the earth box. I added extra twist to about 1500m of laceweight cashmere in prep for its grand plying (and cable plying - it will be about a sport weight then I reckon). That took about three hours of watching "tv" and reading a book. I plied up two lots of laceweight that have been sitting looking at me. Then I put the wheel aside. Tomorrow my calves and feet will tell me I spun away for Much Too Long. Saturday night tea here is pretty much always bangers and mash now. It is easy and quick and Nathan really likes it (so do I!). Last Saturday, we had the joy of mashed purple potatoes with some oh the yellow ones, every popular here, anyway, the mix of purple and yellow (my old school colours) was quite horrid! Yum!


(BTW for those wondering if the smoke alarms here ever went off - they mysteriously stopped at the same time as the fire truck went wailing up the road... the local fire station is only 200 yards away if that.)

Time to go and deal with the washing up. I am still wrangling with the idea of getting a smaller bin. Our current kitchen bin is too small and too big - some weeks it will take a whole week of garbage but by then the compostable bin liners start rotting = Very Bad! I figure if I have a smaller bin, I will empty it more often and it can use the bags we get bulk foods in (and a few things like beans and spinach leaves in at the market). These bags don't have any recycling label on them so they will likely end up in landfill anyway, and if I choose the ones without the breathing holes punched in them, they tend not to leak. I do have a worm farm but they can't eat the amount of vegie waste we produce each week. We eat an enormous amount of vegies - I figure they are cheap and filling and good for us, so I use heaps to bulk out meals with. I still get a shock when you get just one vegetable (and potato or rice) with a meal here. It is considered adventurous to offer cauli, broccoli and carrots together. Those three have been my basics for years!

Enough rambling - I must do the dishes.


Thursday, May 14, 2009

New shoe surgery

G'day all!

The other day I just so happened to pick up some new shoes. Flat flat flat things. No heels at all (it is very funny when I put them on - I nearly keel over backwards cos every pair of shoes I have have some sort of heel, even if it is only 5mm, and these things don't!). Oh and cheap too cos I don't like spending lots on shoes that will end up on the bike and being scarred by the toe lifter things.

I thought the shoes were great, though it was a bit odd that they didn't have laces. But then again they were remaindered stock and a pair of shoe laces is easy to come by or make.

So I got out the little windy machine that makes i-cord and crunched out some shoe laces in left over Panda Silk (I figured the silk and nylon content would make the laces fairly resistant to wear and tear and rubbing).

Then I discovered this:

The shoes are designed to have no laces! I couldn't get my fingernail under the lacing part!


They have elastic to hold them on. But the elastic is not tight enough to hold the shoes on. And you can see the stitches starting too - elastic and stitches have arrows pointing to them.

So I got out the handy dandy scissors and went to work. See the stitches that I cut? They held the flappy bits down so the laces were useless but no longer!

One done, now for the next one!

Yay for new shoes with funky laces! Even if I do fall over backwards when I first put them on.



Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Maker Faire - upcoming - and linkmania

Ooh, whilst I think of it, the Maker Faire is nearly here. Anyone (localish) going? 505 off tickets for groups of 10 or more! That sounds good but I don't know if everyone has to enter at the same time (which might not be so good cos if we are coming from near and far...).

I have to get rid of some links too.

I might make one of these rag bath mats after I finish the current rag rug. I will use tshirts not sheets. Sheets are useful material!

This person knits almost exactly as I do. I wonder if her purling is the same too?

Mmm, gluten-free yummies!

A little bit of fun with old advertisements by the creator of My First Dictionary (did I already link musty moments?). BTW the 13th of May's First Dictionary is brilliant. ROFL.

Hallmarks of Felinity. Need I say more?

Someone else's sweet potato and dog story, linked here.

This should be big news. Diabetes type II cured by gastric bypass surgery. Maybe there is a hormone involved? Not that I'll be lining up for gastric bypass mind you... and there is a lot of important digestion done by the stomach and duodenum but it seems something made by either of them is helping drive type II.

An old discussion on neuroplasticity and the important of rote learning.

A favourite topic of mine. The Peoples' Loo!

I want some fruit trees! But these are from home and I am not there and I have a teensy patio stuffed full of plants already. They have a great range of older stuff. (And I do have an apple tree, no apples, and a blueberry bush, no blueberries, on the patio.)

This young footballer has had a rough road, and I know exactly where he is coming from wrt his father's death from cancer.

Amongst all of the science gobbledygook here, it appears that digging in the dirt is good for you! Yes, being exposed to Mycobacterium vaccae helps release serotonin in your brain! And here was me thinking I just enjoyed it and it was good for me. Nope, my brain is being controlled by bacteria!

Does your workplace's fridge stink as bad as this one?

Annie Modesitt and a publisher are looking for 1000 fabulous knit hats. Join in!

PS will add another pic to this week's wotisit? Might make it easier...


G'day all!

A while ago, I decided to pay up for the Tactile Fibre Club. I just went for the plain jane one not the fancy one cos I am no good with alpaca and just *knew* I'd get a whole heap of suri alpaca or something that I couldn't spin with.

The first installment arrived two days ago (but I was quarantining myself and forgot to go pick it up from the apartment office). Yesterday I opened up the box to find


Pretty eh? I am not at all a yellow person (which is funny cos yellow to me can mean either sunshine or cowardly custard and I like/am both). The yellow is weld. The blue, pink/red and yellow speaks to me more than the yellow but I can cope :-)

(I was wearing a particularly lurid striped tshirt yesterday - the yellow of the fibre and of the tshirt almost match! I bet the cotton of the tshirt was not dyed with weld though.)

I want to spin it up - this four oz of finn top - but I don't know what I could make out of it given I am only likely to end up with at most 600m of yarn, more likely 400-500m.


I have not yet solved the clothing conundrum. Anne quite rightly pointed out I could just measure something I already own but the only thing I have that is woven and fits neatly is a sleeveless dress. I guess that would be a start! It is also what I get for being a tshirt kinda person. This is to say that I don't iron anything if I can avoid it. That was pretty easy for the first 18 months of our sojourn in the US cos we didn't own an iron! But with my ideas of doing stuff with fabric, I ended up buying one. It has been handy but I don't think it has even touched an item of clothing.

I am being punished for being vain. Yesterday I decided that I was sick of blinding myself whilst riding - my leggies are quite pale and reflect the sun quite well now that it is warm enough for shorts.

So I pulled out the self-tanning lotion. I rubbed it on and thought, "Lovely! Now I will have a bit of a tan!"

As is *now* evident, the stuff can get quite quite dark, especially when you sit with your legs crossed at calf level and make a big smear on the back of one leg.... the smears around my ankles are easily dealt with - that is what socks are for, but the one up the back of my calf... Well I had to put more on today (and before that go out with long legged pants on)! People will wonder where the tan came from. Instant (if 12 hours is instant!) tan out of a bottle. Yah!

I also discovered that apparently I am supposed to shave my legs EVERY DAY! What? Every day? Come off it! Who has time to do that every day? Even people like me with their rather open schedules have better things to do than remove "unsightly stubble." The people who fuss about such things can feel themselves blasted lucky that I bother to shave at all! They would have to put up with my overtly hairy legs (I thank my Scottish ancestors for the hairy legs. I can only guess that it is the result of hairy selection due to the wearing of kilts. Something had to keep the men's leggies warm! Actually, upon reflection, my mother had hairy legs too and I don't know of any Scots in her background, only leek growers). (Note that the hairy legs don't look so bad when my skin is dyed with self tanning lotion unless the hair takes the dye too.)

Enough horrifying you! Next thing you know I'll be saying the T word openly! Yay me!


Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Fuglies update

G'day all!

Thought I should let you know the second rainbow sock, now re-christened "the fugliest socks in the world!," is progressing.


These are NOT pretty socks. But they are entertaining and I have improved my short row wraps quite a bit (by dint of some very scary dropping stitches/wraps off needles). I started turning the heel on the bus today, when I decided to go up to an op shop, see what they have in stock at the moment. It is the op shop I rarely bother going to, even though it is just under three miles away, cos they don't have much that I ever want. And again they didn't (though I did leave a CASHMERE sweater there! It just didn't feel as nice as the better quality cashmere pullover I had in my mitts). Savers is much better for sheets, sometimes has cashmere jumpers too. The other goodwill shop is better for tshirts.


I've been getting the urge to do a little sewing, make some stuff for me. I've been looking at the patterns I've bought (on special, $1 each!) and working out what size to make. I've got three or four lots of material to make things with, and I'm itching to get started.

So I measure me up.

Can you believe that I measure up as a 16 according to the measurements on the pattern? No offence to any 16s out there but that seems huge, given that I usually fit into a 12-14 at home and a 9-10 here. I guess that is what size inflation has done! Anyway, it has rather put me off the idea of sewing cos I am afraid that if I do make the right size then it will be too big and what a waste! Even at my fattest at home I never made size 16 and I am somewhat slimmer now.

What to do, what to do?

Whatserface, the lady with Bells Palsy who is a sewing guru here, Nancy, says that your size is determined by how wide you are from armpit crease to armpit crease. I'm taking that to mean around the front of your chest, not a straight line in front of your chest. That is 13.5" on me, which means I am a size 12. For every half inch up or down from 14"/size 14, you go up or down a dress size (14.5" = size 16, 13.5" size 12).

Now I am just totally confused!

Mebbe I'll just cut a pattern out in a 12 and a 14 using some of the sheets I've been buying to make shopping baggies out of. That should help me work out the sizing at least! I know I can adjust the patterns too but first I'd like to see if they fit as is.

No DH tonight - apparently he as a work dinner that he forgot about. Work has settled some too - certain upsetting actions have been realised and are being worked on.

ETA - argh GOING CRAZY! Two people up the way from us are letting their fire alarms just go off off off off and it is killing me! Nothing I can do about it cos I can't tell exactly which units are making the infernal noise. I have no idea how the residents can put up with it cos it is truly piercing and would wake the dead. I wish they would mute the blasted things! Or not burn their food indoors (though if I put the oven on at 450F it drives our alarm nuts!). Maybe I'll complain to the property managers.... tomorrow. Or call the fire brigade.


Monday, May 11, 2009

Wotisit Monday 3

G'day all!

Last week's pic proved a bit of a conundrum! Noone guessed exactly what it is but a couple got the family (daisies/asteraceae) right!

Pycnosorus globosus is one of my favourite plants. Probably because it is odd, just like me!

This is a closeup of the flowering head just as the flowers are starting to open. Each one of those little pointy things is a flower. Daisies have compound heads, just like this one - all the tiny little flowers are clustered together in the centre. Pycnosorus does not have obvious petals until you look really closely at the flowering head, when you'll see they really do look like teensy little petals. No daisy has really obvious petals - sunflowers and shasta daisies and lawn daisies all have "rays" which are modified petals that (usually) develop at the outer of the flowering head. Dandelions are daisies. Lots of plants are daisies!

Let's see what you think of this week's lucky lucky entrant!


What is the green thing? I think it is something found in many gardens but is probably rarely seen.

At the end of the year, when the leaves have all fallen off, the mature versions of these green things are left. Here's one that fell off.


Remember, email your response to natiel three one one at gmaildotcom. you guys have been great so far at emailing me :-) I think we might need a little prize draw next week from all entries received to date. You gotta be in it to win it! You get one point for being able to guess what sort of thing it is and I'll award four bonus points if you can say precisely what the thing is :-)


Friday, May 08, 2009

Swings and roundabouts

G'day all!

I think things are a bit more settled today. I hope they are. It is very difficult for DH cos he likes his job and he likes the work he does, when he is allowed to do that work....

Anyway, I thought I would share some projects I've been working on recently, though I'd best edit the pics first! Excuse me whilst I make sure I have things to share.


Here's the front and back of the current sample I am working on for my LYS. It is their own dyed cotton. Pretty cool, huh?

But the thing I am really thrilled about is this pile of tshirts.


They are all op shop finds and most of them cost 99 cents or less. Except for the ones that cost $2.

Actually it is not the tshirts that are wonderful, per se, but y'see you can turn tshirts into yarn. Check out this Ravelry group for details. Once turned into yarn, one can use one's extended Tunisian crochet hook to make things out of the tshirt yarn. I used the Stitch Diva tutes (different links for each word) to learn how to do Tunisian crochet, and I also bought the hook from them at Stitches in Feb.

Anyway, I decided when I bought the hook that it would be great for making a floor rug out of old tshirts. I just had to collect enough tshirts first. That little bundle in the pic is NOWHERE NEAR ENOUGH tshirts! Not if you want to make something a decent size on my 19mm hook.

Ahem. I was pretty annoyed about the idea of going home just when I've collected and cut up a heap of tshirts and wanted more (now bought, don't care what happens as long as I get to cut up and use this new batch of tshirts). I pick out tshirts that noone wants - some op shops here stamp the date on the back of the label. A 99c tshirt that has been on the rack for two months is Lynne bait and I bite. Especially if it is in the right colours (bright) and is 100% cotton. Even better if it has an obnoxious print on it cos noone will ever see it again.

Here's what three men's XL tshirts makes.


A strip about 15cm long and 80cm wide. 6" X 30" roughly. But isn't it pretty? So bright and chirpy! I want more tshirts, more and more and more colours! (I have more and more tshirts!)


Hafta go dry some tshirts and then cut them up. But first knit night at the LYS. Assuming I decide to go - I've been hoarse the last two days, ever since I choked on some Listerine. I am wondering if it is a cold trying to take hold or just I burned my trachea with the alcohol and muck in the Listerine. I have a bit of a cough. But I don't feel unwell and I am not running a temperature. I just won't be able to talk much.


Thursday, May 07, 2009

youtube is a god

I kid you not.

I suddenly felt badly in need of a certain bit of music. I know I have it at home. Home is a very long way away. I know I would be highly unlikely to be able to get it here. Getting Oz music here, at least from the libraries, is difficult.

Ah, youtube! You hero!

A nice bit of Reckless. Ah.... (for non-Aussies and Kiwis, you might wonder what the fuss was about but this song was top of the charts for 10 or 12 weeks in '83. And no I can't work out what all the words are either - Kurt Cobain wasn't the first to have bad diction and incomprehensible lyrics and won't be the last.) Now maybe a bit more Oz Crawl, followed by some Hunners and a bit of Midnight Oil jump up and down like a goik and head bang a bit (but you probably need to be an Aussie or a Kiwi to know what I am talking about). Yeah.... Nice old music, angry music some of it, calm music some of it, music of a bygone era, music from when I was growing up, music from before job stress, parents dying, responsibility, all that sort of crap.

Wonder how long it will be before Flash crashes my browser?


From good to not so good

G'day all!

Well not so good actually. Two days ago we were cruisin' along.

Yesterday an Issue arose at DH's work so he came home after lunch cos it was better to get away than erupt/stew there.

Anyway, the Issue might be so bad that we might be going Home somewhat earlier than expected.

It is the uncertainty that kills me. (and him.)

Plus the knowledge that we have to leave the country within 10 days of the job ending. I am trying to find out if we can re-enter on the visa waiver program or if we have to get a B2 tourist visa (and we have to pre-register too). 10 days is not enough to pack up your life and move on (can't imagine what it is like to be forcibly ousted from your home by war/etc).

Before It All Erupted, I was happily engaged in making things like these:

A pouch type bag, with gusset!

A foldy up bag, secured with velcro. Now with added gusset!

A foldy bag of Bad Cats, now with added gusset. I really like this material and the colour (not that colour shows well cos of the contrast of light and dark - it is a medium-light turquoise).

I'm getting better at doing the handles, I think. They still are not perfect but then again nor am I 8-)

Plus I am very pleased with the gussets. They are not perfect but the add a certain something to the bags. You can see the size of the bags - the idea is they they are shopping bags. They won't carry a huge load, being only one layer, but I find the ones I made for me to be extremely handy. They fold up small enough to fit in a handbag (ok except the blue trains one) and are really handy for when you do a spot of shopping and don't want yet Another Plastic Bag.

All of these bags have gone on a long plane trip, or are about to go. I posted them yesterday.

Topping off my woe nicely is that I have a weirdly sore throat. It started after I used some L-ine (name truncated!) last night (cos I thought it might help kill the ulcers that appeared after I scratched the inside of my lip). I've gone hoarse too. And I can't go out to buy some more cheap tshirts to turn into my latest obsession... no point buying stuff that I might have to offload in a couple of weeks!


Wednesday, May 06, 2009

One done

G'day all!

(DAH! Just hit enter instead of tab in one of those moments, and blogger published an empty post! LOL)

I've been a busy bee recently. I've been doing lots of stuff, so much so that I took stock last night as I watched Peter Jackson's "King Kong," edited photos and knitted pretty much all at the same time. I was taking on just waaay too much at the one time and even contemplated that I might be a bit manic. I decided that I should make a choice - watch the movie or edit pics. The DVD won cos I can knit and watch at the same time. It is harder to knit when one or the other (or both) hands are busy typing and twiddling the mouse.

Such a Peter Jackson movie! So many things that he just loves - some moments I wondered if I was watching Bad Taste again!

Anyway, I think I'd prefer to watch Wall-E again - that was a very sweet movie (and somewhat shorter!). I am waiting for Pixar to create a disaster. I have liked (and often loved) all of their movies that I've seen to date.

All this DVD watching has been prime knitting time. So far I've finished one front or back of the chevron tshirt (no pic cos I am silly!) and made a bold start on the next side. I've also spent enough time on buses to have done this:


(Wonky sock on a wonky foot! No it is not broken or anything, just pronated a bit)
(Holy heck, I've just uploaded these pics five minutes or less ago and that sock has been looked at three times already! How can that be??

Yep, one sock down, the second is now past the toe and heading for the heel.

I've got other projects to share but not necessarily knitting, OK? I just have to spread out the love a little and get pics of the latest and greatest thing I'm up to.


Monday, May 04, 2009

Wotisit Monday 2

G'day all!

It's Monday and that means it is time to play

Wotisit Monday!

Last week we had a most mysterious picture of

an ONION! Yep, it was an onion cut crossways, just like you would for onion rings. Thanks for your entries :-) I hope I've emailed everyone who entered so far. Oh and entries for week one are now closed!!!

This week's mystery picture is:


Remember, email your guesses to me at natiel three one one at gmail dot com I'll tot up all the correct guesses and provide a grand prize along with spot prizes along the way for guesses that amuse me or just cos it is fun to get a random prize!

Guess I had better get knitting stuff so I have something to show you, bettern't I?