Thursday, June 30, 2011


G'day all!

It's been a busy week. Lots of things going on.

No good pics to share at this point - I used them all up earlier in the week! Silly me 8-)

I was reading the paper online this afternoon and was totally dismayed to discover that one of my favourite ever footballers died of lung cancer today. He never smoked. He was only three years older than me.

Many years ago, when he was a young man who had come from Ireland (though he was Scottish) to play Aussie Rules, he wrecked one of his knees. I used to go to training (ie the players ran around training for games) and watch. It is long enough ago that my team still trained at the Melbourne Cricket Ground and the ground still had a picket fence around it. The pickets were metal, though, not wood. Two sorts of pickets alternated, one had more a flattened button top, the other was a bit pointier. I remember sitting on the picket fence and he hobbled up on crutches and hoisted himself up and sat next to me. I don't think we spoke beyond a comment on how uncomfortable it was to sit there. He had a most fabulous accent.

But from that moment on, I watched this young footballer. In American terms, I rooted for him (in Australian terms, I barracked cos rooting has a somewhat umm earthier connotation to us). I hoped his knee would get him back into the game, I hoped he would fulfill his promise. He played in the winning under 19s team in 1983, just a year after he first arrived in Australia having never played the game before. (He must have wrecked his knee after that game.) He went on to break into the seniors and played 150 games at the highest level in the land. He was named All Australian (snerk) in 1987 and represented Victoria (state) in 1988. His athleticism led him into injury more than once - he usually played in defence and played his role like he was a soccer goalie. He nearly killed himself on the goal posts more than once. Watching your favourite player wreck his knee again, give himself concussion, wreck his shoulders and generally give his all was heart in the mouth stuff. He retired in 1995 when his body said no more.

He still remembered me even after he had retired, what 11 years later.

I remember him (and my memories from that age are not very clear - only after I stopped eating gluten did I start laying down good memories!). I wish I had known him better. I wish I had not been so shy, too shy to talk to him. But I was young and silly and had some idle daydream of marrying into the team that I adored and that made me even more tongue tied. It is funny how the passion has cooled over the years - I am still a Demon born and bred, will be 'til one of us dies, but I've been bitten enough times now to take a step back and distance myself some.

Vale, Sean Wight. You will be missed.

Next time, I hope to be a little less mournful! I may even have some new makings to show off :-)


Monday, June 27, 2011

More inspiration

G'day all!

Have you seen the patterns in the current Knitty?

OMG. So. Many. Things. To. Knit.

I think I added 8 or so items to my waaay long Ravelry queue. (That link goes directly to the queue so you have to have a ravelry log in and I am too lazy to go open up all the links to Knitty.)

Double Heelix (socks).

Date Night (top).

Lingerie (socks).

Rhodion Lace Shawl.

Dragon Wing Shawl.

Undercurrent (cardie/hoodie).

Leaflet (short sleeved cardie).

Then I followed a link to Nikol Lohr's blog and read through and added Sally Cardigan to the list. Heck, it can play with the other 317 items I've got in my queue.

The most annoying part? If I knit for very long, like more than about 20 minutes at a time, my stupid lympho arm starts playing up. Grr! It is my right arm and I'm a thrower, I might try picking but I've never done lace whilst picking. Could be interesting! Might not make a difference anyway but I should give it a bash if I make something more simple - I've knitted some stuff mostly picking before, it's just I can throw without thinking or looking at my knitting. I've been knitting like that since I was about 18 and practised until I got it working well for me. I should get the picking going well too, eh?


Today I bit the bullet and quilted my latest little quilt. I was going to practise the pattern on a few scraps but umm, well I got all enthused and practised on the quilt instead. And this is practice for a big quilt. And umm, the quilt is actually flat, I just didn't have a flat place to put it near the lights.


It ain't perfect, nothing I make is, but I don't mind. I like it even with its uneven stitches and distinct lack of squareness on occasion. It is much more heavily quilted than I normally make things. I know how to avoid some of the mistakes I made now and I certainly won't be quilting the big quilt as densely. I'll also be moving it much more slowly - this little one slipped around like a squirmy thing quite a lot. The big quilt won't!


Work for the next three days. I've been wrangling Flash for weeks now, starting to get a bit over it! And then I read that HTML5 is going to take over anyway. But that is ok, if I can wrangle Flash (and I can make Word put a picture in the spot I want it to *and* keep it in that spot 90% of the time) I reckon I can wrassle with pretty much anything!


Friday, June 24, 2011

Another day at the craft show

G'day all!

Thanks for the enthusiasms over the dress. I like it! I just wish there was a Sew Serendipity Flickr group. (Maybe I should ask permission to make one?)

I went back to the craft show today. I wanted in particular to do a certain class that I hadn't realised was happening on Wednesday. Too late! All booked out. Sniffle.

But I still went to a number of excellent talks (applique, still dead skeered of applique!), using precuts and nifty templates (bought said templates, only $20, have to try them out now!), talks on colour by Reece Scannell and umm Kathy Doughty from Material Obsession (who I found out are in Drummoyne now and I've been walking within a hundred metres, or driving TWO DOORS AWAY, of the shop and never known! If you follow the link, I walk past the little ferry symbol at the bottom of the map or if I have a car, I go around the roundabout by their shop on my way to (ahem) Spotlight...). (Alas, we got a bit distracted during Kathy's talk as a lady fainted and then threw up as is common after fainting - noone ever mentions that, do they? In the audience was a nurse who went to help when the lady fainted, and was repaid with chunder... whoops.)

I got all horribly enthused about EVERYTHING!


I bought a screen printing kit and 3 extra inks over the ones that come with the kit - I had promised myself that I was going to get one once DH got paid (don't like spending the emergency fund on whims!).

I bought a pattern drafting kit for a lot of money (but I get two hundred patterns for the price of 10 patterns so I figured it was good value and it has a lot of classic styles in it that I can play with).


I bought more fabric, including some Saffron Craig (below).



More yarn (including yarn for a hat that I have to knit within 10 days for a wedding in a couple of weeks).

Some fibre reactive dyes cos Nathan wants to dye stuff and someone 8-) left the dyes in Melbourne. I do have a pic but really? Little packets of dye? No. (I bet he doesn't realise that he will be standing at the sink being a washing machine because it has to be washed in HOT water after dyeing and the laundry in our flats does not do hot water - I ran the whole trough full of water once and it still was cold cold cold.)

I walked to and from the show today - I have no idea how much I walked up and down (but I did every aisle twice!) and on top of that walked an extra 6 or so km! That makes up a little for the hot chips (fries) I bought on the way home. It also meant I saw things like this:

(a car share car that is going NOWHERE - it is boxed in all round by hole in the road digging stuff)

and got take pics of today's loot (by dropping everything on the grass by the waterfront - people probably thought I am mad but at least I got pics!)


and pics of the sunset. (I got to the craft show at 9:30am-ish and didn't get home until nearly 5pm!)


Egads it is lovely around the waterfront at sunset. The lighting hides all sorts of flaws and industrial eyesores, and if you look at the big version of the bridge pic, you might just be able to see the traffic is bumper to bumper all the way across... There's a reason why we pay the big bucks we do for the dumpy little flat we live in 8-)



PS - pop over to Mandy's blog and Rachael's blog - my partners in crime from Wednesday.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

A new dress

G'day all!

I whipped this little number up for the craft fair I went to yesterday (and will go to again tomorrow 8-)


OK, it took me a fair whack of Sunday and Monday evening too (and I did a simple version without ruffles and as little contrast as possible), and a bit of Tuesday evening when I realised I had not edge stitched the sleeves... But anyway, it was done in time and washed and ironed and all.


It is totally different from the clothes I see being worn around here and y'know what? I don't mind at all.



(I'd show you the secret inside the hem but I forgot to get DH to take a pic of it. Fabric is "Flora and Fauna.")

Yesterday I was sighing over how good other people's attempts at screen printing were compared to mine. Today? Mine looks pretty darned good :-)


I was puzzling over the low quality of my phone's pictures today. See how little that picture is (if you click through to the full size)? That was a full size pic on the phone and it seemed rather odd at the time but the screen isn't that large (7cm by 9cm I guess) so I thought it was just me. I took that shot earlier on (obviously - that was taken in the sun). It seems that my phone has happily been pressing its own buttons, but now I know that it has a wide range of resolution settings. I hadn't actually explored that part of its settings, or another part that adjusts for things like sunset or fireworks, etc, etc. Guess I'll have to lock the thing so it can't go drawing on its own screen and changing the settings...

I'm back off to the quilt show tomorrow (craft fair). I am thinking I will do a couple more classes (one on an overlocked tote bag if I can make it in to the class) and look at the stuff I didn't get a chance to and oh, get some big rick rack to go with some fabric I have plans for. And see if anyone has cats eyes for toys. And the turner things to help turn soft-toys-in-progress inside out.


(PS no whining for the nonce! Had enough of whining, have put my big girl pants on and am getting over a sense of entitlement. Thanks for the encouragement!)

(PPS. Today was a few seconds longer than yesterday, and yesterday was part of a second longer than the shortest day. Hooray for the return of the sun!)

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Just the ticket

Gday all!

Had a lovely day today :)

Met up with Mandy and Rachael at the Sydney craft and quilt show.

Wandered around, chatted, saw lots of really groovy stuff, did a screen printing workshop (boy did I get ink everywhere!), bought stuff... I'm going back on friday to do a couple more workshops and look at the stuff I didn't have time to see.

Pics of us, Mandy's tea towel she printed (so clever!) and another tea towel with pink elephants (more so clever!) with Rachael's blue flowers (made with a masking tape resist, cleverness!). My tea towel doesn't have a pic yet...


Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Getting a little punch drunk

G'day all!

Thank you for the reminders about looking after me and there's only so much I can do. I am aware of that but well life keeps on dealing out blows and after a while you start getting a little punch drunk.

Yesterday my eldest niece had an emergency caesar. I didn't know until this morning when I got a panicked email from my sister, her mother, which worried me greatly. My new great nephew came a month early, just like my first great niece did, and he is a bit of a tiddler at 4lb 4oz (we went metric in the early 70s. Babies are weighed in kilos but everyone says the weight in pounds, lol). My niece has had rhesus compatibility issues with both of them. BUt it is ok, he is doing well for a kid in a hurry. He'll be in hospital for a while whilst his lungs mature some more.

Then there has been the possibility of a trip to the US with Nathan's job. We would've gone to two old stamping grounds and NYC. (Note the we.) It also would've happened at the same time as Sock Summit. But he is concerned that he would fall behind in his work and he doesn't see the point of it all. I am horribly disappointed. I had hoped I would get a little (BIG) reward for putting up with so much. To be completely honest, I have had to deal with a helluva lot of crap since hmm, November 2009 when Nathan's US job disappeared. I don't talk about most of it because it is private and you don't want to tell all online, well I don't, cos you never known when it will come back to bite you. Cancer treatment I now realise was harder and took more out of me than I thought it had, then Nathan got a job in Sydney and we lived apart for a while, also no fun, and events went crazy and since then it has been a total rollercoaster. I've moved to a city where I have very little support and have not made a single friend of my own to date in nearly three months of living here. OK, I should try harder and go to knitty events and hang out in shops and hope I'll connect with someone. I should read the Sydney ravelry boards.

But I am completely knackered. I have Had. E. Nough. Every day I struggle to keep DH's spirits up whilst maintaining my own. I have no energy left for making connections.

I so wanted to have a nice trip, see some friends that I miss, see places that I fully expect never to see again. Everything changed when I was diagnosed with cancer. Making plans for the future is difficult when at any moment, the future could be taken away. OK, it could be taken away by me getting run over by a bus (or as nearly happened yesterday, a car who didn't look for a ped on the ped crossing). But the likelihood of me not making it to 50 is much much higher than for a woman who has not been diagnosed with cancer. And that underlies everything. (So why do I keep stashing like there's no tomorrow? Oh. That is why.)

The squashed cherry on the melted icecream is that Nathan's two best mates up here are moving to the office in Zurich. They have been his staunchest supporters all the way through. He came home and cried for an hour. He said they should go, he would go if he was given the opportunity.

So things are crappy. I am over crappiness. I would like the universe to say "Hey, you've had to deal with enough, here's something randomly good for you." But I know how it works and that sort of stuff only happens in movies.

(and today had started off as a quite good day too. I almost finished a new dress that I will wear to the craft show tomorrow - I only have to do some topstitching around the sleeves. The weather was quite warm before a cold change blew through. It will get better too. I have lambshanks in the oven cooking away. Isn't it funny how they practically used to be given away and after getting publicity, the things sell for anything up to $7 a piece! But mine didn't cost that much.)

Man, I can't wait for tomorrow, so today will be just another crappy day to be forgotten!


Sunday, June 19, 2011

Up and down like a yo-yo

G'day all!

I'm a total stress bunny currently. Can't really talk about it. I am good but one person in particular is not so good, like really not so good. They are up and down like a yo-yo and I am really struggling to help them. Now I could just walk away and say "Deal with it yourself" but that would create a whole lot more problems than it would solve.

So I really don't know what to do. I am pretty isolated here in Sydney. Yes I can ring people back home but I sorta feel that it is pretty manky to ring people only when I need help. (I'm pretty bad at staying in touch, if you haven't already figured that out!) I've been writing stuff, making stuff, walking, working, doing things to look after me but the load is getting too much for me to deal with. I need some of my energy for ME.

They are seeking help, btw, and are in active care. They seem to have gotten worse, not better so far, but AFAIK that often happens. But the appointment happens once a week and for the rest of the time? Argh!

Anyway, I think I'll track down some SnBs up here. I know Morris and Sons has one on Thursdays (though I am a bit peeved with them due to their pricing policy on yarn. They don't have a price list or prices on the yarn - you have to ask. That gets VERY old VERY fast so I don't shop there much for yarn. I want to know how much I have to stump up from the very beginning, not set my heart on something and discover it will cost $160 to knit from that yarn....). There is one in Newtown (a fair walk away) this Sunday. I need some knitty friends! But I am shy and won't push myself forward (this might make a number of people laugh).

Plus the Sydney quilt show is on this week. I am meeting up with a quilty person and her friend. (I've been working this arvo so that I make up for loss of time on Wednesday.) I have swimming tonight. I am a woeful swimmer - I have two shoulders that are pretty dodgy and I can't do freestyle or backstroke - but being in water is good for my lymphoedema and also just for me. And I am managing to swim 3/4 of a lap now - 75m - in one hit. Hooray for me!

For the nonce I shall try to hang cool, make my new dress (I am sewing lots more than knitting these days but that is because it is easier to sew with the lympho sleeve on), make a new little stuffed dragon (should be extra cute if I can get it to work, have lots of handsewing to do on it) and swim. And work of course!


Friday, June 17, 2011


G'day all!

One of the things that amazes me most about living in the inner suburbs of a large city (and Sydney is large, over 4 million people and rather sprawly) is the persistence of nature.

I found a little skink in the laundry today.  I caught him and took him outside. The pics are on the big camera, not the phone.

Then walking through Ultimo, this fern caught my eye. I often see ferns growing out of buildings, even buildings in the centre of town.

(ok, I'm blogging on my phone again so the pic is at the end)

It's things like this that keep me sane. I'm not used to living in a place where I'm so divorced from nature. I do get to see sunrise quite often, now that it is winter, but sunset often goes unnoticed as our place has no westerly outlook. Things just get duller and duller instead.  And the plants around building are not inspiring, and we don't have an outdoors space. The tree that greets sunrise outside our window is lovely but our view is mostly of bitumen, concrete and blond bricks. So I find nature where I can.

And these little reminders remind me that there is more than just bricks, concrete, bitumen and steel in my local environment.


Monday, June 13, 2011

Climb every mountain

G'day all!

Today we climbed Pigeon House Mountain. It is about a three hour drive to the south of Sydney.

It involved climbing some really steep rocky bits (and a whole lot more less steep and rocky bits but hardly any less strenous!)

Feats of athleticism

Many muddy puddles,

and lots

and lots

of ladders
(The second set of stairs in this pic is really a ladder, like a monkey bar ladder with round treads and all. I am *terrified* of ladders like that)

to get to a view that looked like this:

(pity it was cloudy, eh? Apparently you can see about 100km of coastline on a good day and the amazing plateaus and cliffs of the Shoalhaven.)


Friday, June 10, 2011

Now with added title!

G'day all!

I hauled out the sewing machine over the last few days and sewed up a little quilt top and backing, ostensibly to practise my free motion quilting.


Cute, eh? I had a few difficulties getting the pic as the quilt top and back kept doing this:

First though I have to make up quilt sandwiches of scrap material and batting (I don't have much scrap! I use it all and my favoured batting is hard to get here) to practise the quilting. Quilty Pleasures is hosting a free motion quilting tute, or twenty.

But colour is the thing and these have plenty of colour. The front is made of some white homespun cut to 5" blocks (aka charms) and a charm pack of Robert Kaufmann Kona square in umm? Classic? (Can't find the label, must be tidying up too much for my own good!). The backing is from my stash of plain homespun, a stash that is still growing as I find more colours that I like. Note there is no yellow or orange. The yellow in my stash got tie dyed accidentally when I washed it with a rainbow of colours. Ooops. (Don't ask me what I did to four metres of ivory homespun but umm, it isn't the same colour either.... oddly enough when the tie dyed towel ran on the homespun, it did not mark the pastel green pillowcase that I'd put the homespun into.)


Whilst I am on a colour kick, I hauled out some more top to spin. Some of Mandie's multicolour with black bamboo that I picked up at Bendigo last year (Bendi is the Australian Sheep and Wool show, the biggest place for fibre in Australia!). I might not be able to go to Bendi this year - I'm in a different state now and the drive is many many hours. The idea of flying down, getting on a bus (cos the trains are cancelled as they are doing major trackwork), wandering around Bendi and then doing it all in reverse is a bit much for me to contemplate. Anyway, most of the top is now spun up. I'm doing a single with it and once it is done will share the results. I think if I have enough, I'll make some sort of little shawly thing with it, a plainish one cos umm this yarn is going to be plenty busy enough!

Finally, this


is what I wake up to every sunny morning. There's been a few sunny mornings recently and having the tree outside the window light up is fab. And thank heavens we are getting close to the shortest day, because I am getting tired of the sun being so far north and then setting before 5pm. I forget that it is winter, even though the temperature tells me so!, and the sun sets early in winter.


Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Sunday rally

Gday all!

Last Sunday I attended my first ever political rally.

I say yes to reducing carbon emissions. Ok, I am a hypocrite because I still drive my (little) car and much much worse, I have been in a plane (and flown places) about once a month since August last year. And I am addicted to Stuff, like most other members of western society. I buy and consume merrily. It is a conundrum that I am still wrangling with.

I sometimes wonder why I care about all this stuff. After all, I don't have kids. (I do have nieces and nephews though.) But for me, it isn't about humans in particular, it is about the whole world. Everything is tied to everything else. We are much more reliant on our environment than we care to admit.  Without a biosphere that can support us, we are stuffed, and we'll take a whole lot of the biota with us cos it needs the same conditions as we do.  And that peeves and grieves me. All that diversity, all that life in all its infinitely varied forms...

But if enough people stand up and say yes, we want to move away from a carbon based economy, maybe we can make a difference.


Catching up

G'day all!

Will I ever take more pictures of the things I am making? Will I ever catch up with all the things I want to show and talk about, let alone the stuff I want to do?

I've been bad. Yep, I got me more material online. More airmail.


Riley Blake "Happier." I am a sucker for little twee designs with bugs and birds and wiggles and stuff. I also have a half metre of the fabric that is on top of the charms and layer cake.

Plus I bought some patterns, but I forgot to take pics of two of them. I really should tell you where I bought the fabric too but umm... yeah... found the packaging. Above All Fabric.


I spun some lovely BFL/bunny fluff from Ixchelbunny. Go give her some love, she's had a total disaster as her angora rabbit farm has been devastated by calicivirus. Seven years of breeding down the gurgler, her livelihood and many of her little fluffy loves lost.


I have no idea what I'll make with the yarn - I am a bit shy of 300m, which is not enough for socks or for more than a kerchief of a shawl. The yarn will self stripe if rows are not too long. (It will self stripe anyway but it won't show up well.)

I am finally at the heel of Nathan's Tardis socks. omg, this has taken SO LONG. OK, so I am knitting two at a time but really! (Dang, I just had to rip out the heel. I use a version of Cat Bordhi's heel increases and didn't do them on one side of the heel = very wonky heel! At least I can start the heel over again, rather than having to cut out a whole new lot of material!) Still no pics - navy sock yarn, very little natural light here now... if I could hang it out the bathroom window I'd get good light there but umm difficult!

I must remember to go for a walk at the start and the end of the day. Because we don't get good light here, afternoons dwindle into twilight without me noticing many days. "Oh, it's dark, I need to put more lights on!" But once in a while I remember to choof on out around sunset, and sometimes get a nice reward.




Friday, June 03, 2011

Well it amuses me...

G'day all!

Why yes, I *do* have an awful sense of humour... But this number plate does amuse me.

Started a new little quilt today. My so bad! But the colours are fantastic and once it is far enough along, I shall share it. It will be very pretty. Much nicer than the number plate...


Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Proof of insanity?

G'day all!

This might just go to show that I am nuts.

Yesterday's picture was of our rubbish bins. 

Our brand spanking new wheely bins.

They are very exciting because:
The lids are not falling off,
They are new and shiny, and last but most exciting of all...
There are THREE recycle bins *and* they are for mixed recycling.

No more sorting my recycle stuff and even better I might have a chance of recycling it weekly rather than about once every six weeks when someones else have not already filled the two up.


Woke up to sun this morning - blue sky is so nice to see.