Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Should Auld Acquaintance be Forgot....

Well, the votes are in and most people preferred ‘a stash of knitters’, but there was some feeling out there for a ravel of knitters.

I was surprised that we all missed the obvious one – a yarn of knitters. This would work 2 ways (considering that most of us are, um, somewhat loquacious). We could also be a skein of knitters – so that would work, too.

Currently we have an old friend of mine staying for a few days. The Director and I have been friends since I was in Kindergarten and he was in grade 2. He is good looking, articulate, straight, witty, funny and a great cook. He is single.

His is also, I should point out, highly sought after, but rebuffs advances. He likes his urban life just the way it is. When he needs rural recreation he visits us and gardens. He weeds and prunes, mows and digs up thistles. The children adore his visits and he copes very well with small people following him around. We drink red wine and eat nice food. My husband gets on really well with him. In fact, on both occasions I was in hospital having children the Director came to stay and he and the Accountant went out for dinner and drank rather a lot of red.

This got me thinking about long relationships. Up until my 20s I complained that most of my relationships only lasted around 6 months (with a couple of exceptions which went on much too long!). Then I realised that I was too focussed on boy/girl love/romance relationships and that I wasn’t terribly good at those.

What I was good at was friendships. I put work into friendships. I had a number of friendships that had lasted decades. Many of my friends had been that way since I was 4, 5 or 6. They definitely outlasted romances. They also overcame living in different states and countries, they outlasted marriages (on their side, not mine). They outlasted fashion disasters, the sixties, seventies and eighties,nineties and noughties, careers and studies.

These friendships were both male and female. They were substantial and dynamic. A gap of a few years made very little difference to the quality of the relationship.

On one occasion, I hadn’t seen an old friend for more than 10 years. We slipped back into the friendship with no change in tempo – it was as if one of us had popped out for some milk.

These are not static friendships. They contain no competition (although there is occasionally friendly rivalry). They have no problem with different interests or priorities, even different politics. The wax and wane sometimes, but have remained the lodestone of my life. I value these friendships.

So while I am still pretty hopeless at romance, the Accountant and I started off as friends, then became best friends and then the romance followed. We are still best friends, but there’s always room for more friends, old and new.

So after all that, I am pretty good at relationships. They just weren’t the ones I was thinking of!

Monday, October 29, 2007

You put this bit in, you take this box out....

Hurrah for declutteration!!

I am feeling like a de-cluttering powerhouse today!!! Hurrah for our school fair and its white elephant stall - I am supplying white, blue yellow and polka dot elephants at present!


Well - the ins are always with us!

The Shoes (see yesterday's post)
A top for me
4 balls of Anchor Magic line cotton I forgot to fess up to last week!
10 balls babysilk cashmere (Prestige yarns sale)
400gr Bendi mango Cotton
600gr Bendi Rustic green
Some Spidey yarn
3 sewing patterns from Taph


Portacot - sold
Baby backpack - sold
Pram - sold
4 bags childrens clothes - sold on ebay
1 bag clothes - Lifeline
6 boxes crockery and glassware (around 150 items)- donation
1 large moving box kitchen gear (around 80 items or more) - donation
1 large box books - donation
12 lipsticks - old and colour strange and dried out - binned
4 chipped plates - binned
1 vase - broken - I wasn't going to fix it - despite past protestations - binned

I'm not even going to count them up, because this week the 'OUTS' are certainly out weighing the 'INS'

I'm feeling better already!

I'm so pleased that Taph put me onto this challenge. Its a wonderful thing and I feel better with every box and bag that leaves the house. I'm also much more conscious of what's coming in to the house, and tend to check with myself whether we really need something - or I just want it!

On that note, I'll point out that Bendigo Woollen Mills is having a sale until December!! Also, that Meaghan at Yarns Online is having a book sale. The Prestige Yarns sale continues.

You have been warned!

Sunday, October 28, 2007

A Tinking of Knitters? A Purl of Knitters?

Just thought I’d get a head start on Shoesday! Found these in the local op-shop, never worn, $4! Red, Rosered, Red! That makes 4 pairs of red shoes in the last 2 months or so, a personal record! So why on earth am I wearing my aging green crocs today? I have no idea. Excuse me while I change!

The 7 things challenge reached a bit of a crescendo this weekend! I’ll put in my updates tomorrow – but a large chunk of the weekend was spent unwrapping stuff, looking at it and re-wrapping it and placing in boxes for the white elephant stall. I even managed to part with some books – more next weekend, I hope.

I have difficulty parting with books – even books I don’t like. The 2 exceptions to this were ‘Chung Quo’ which was so sexist and violent that I heaved it into a bin and the first Traci Harding book which I felt was lazy, poorly proofed and badly edited. That got heaved into a bin somewhere in Ireland (so disappointing when you hate your holiday reading). While backpacking through South East Asia in the 1980s I used to take James Clavell books – weighty, but a high swap value – and interesting to read. However, I met 2 favourite books in Singapore and refused to part with them – Mark Helprin’s ‘A Winter’s Tale’ and Raymond Feist’s ‘Magician’ – about 3 months before it reached Australia. I refused to part with them and carted them through Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia.

However, today’s post is not really about books. It’s really about collective nouns. I am a great collector of collective nouns – I love them. They’re a peculiarly English language thing, and a great drunken party game. You’ll remember some:
A gaggle of geese
A dabble of ducks
A murder of crows
A bumble of bears
An exaltation of larks
An unkindness of ravens
A shrewdness of apes
A sulk of foxes
A pride of lions, and so on.

The Princess's school diary has a whole page of these things – and I just love them. There are hundreds of these, and a favourite game after a few drinks is to invent new ones. (Yes, we are nerdy, Arabella, but someone has to be.)

Some of ours are
A corruption of politicians (sometimes changed to a headline of politicians)
An argument of lawyers
A plunger of plumbers
A shortness of jockeys
A rate of councillors
An investigation of police
A perseverance of farmers, and so on

Invent your own. A fun game for the whole family! Costs nothing!

So what are we? A tinking of knitters? A purl of knitters? Please not a frog of knitters? A whoredom of stashers? A spindle of dyers? A niddy noddy of spinners? A colour of dyers? What do you think?

Thinking of the lucky ducks that went for a road trip to Waratah fibres got me thinking about this. That and the fact that I still haven’t finished the mystery sock!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Sox, Sox, Sox - Is That All You Ever Think About?

Well, sometimes - but I also think about shawls and jumpers and jackets and cardis and hats and patterns .....

It's hard to explain to a muggle (especially a muggle husband) the true, pure joy of knitting. The fact that the knitting itself is great and so is the giving or wearing of an item you made, with your hands. This creation is a very primal thing, I think.

I imagine that anyone who creates anything feels a surge of pride that their hands and minds have created this beautiful thing.

I have a bent (enough sniggering down the back) for creating useful, functional and sometimes wearable items. As a potter, I specialised in ware, that is, things which people could use to eat or drink from, or to serve food and drink. I admired those who specialised in sculpture or 3 dimensional art pieces, but that was not where my skills or inclination lay. I have sewn and enjoyed it (although since the advent of children, my sewing machine has not had much of a workout!), and I love to cook (but not clean, as you already know!).

I love to create things, and that was my one problem with my academic career. Although I am the proud holder of several degrees, the problem with academic life is that for all the work you put in, you don't always have anything really tangible to show for it. You have words, or reports, or project notes, and although in the hands of a poet or writer words can be beautiful and revolutionary, in the hands of an academic essayist or researcher, that is not usually the case. Your academic words may change the world, but they are rarely as beautiful or fulfilling as the things you make with your hands.

Mind you, it's still miles better than any words I wrote back in the dark days of working for the public service, specifically in the CES (Commonwealth Employment Service, for those of you too young to remember this institution)!

Knitting not only allows me to create beautiful object which I enjoy wearing and giving, but it also allows me to exercise my mind (all that maths and creative visualisation), and to design. My first ever socks design is on the needles and is working really well at present (small break for sacrifices and libations for Knitting Goddesses).

I have posted my first completed socks on the SSS blog and am working on the second pair - don't expect close-ups though - if they work I'm aiming for my first rejection!

Ins and Outs and Shake it all abouts:

A better week this week than last! The de-cluttering fairy has been helping me this week!


3 balls Jet, 3 prs knitting needles, fridge magnets and plastic table cover stuff - from the Doomlight of Spot!
3 balls yarn for my tea cosy swap
1 swift and ball winder (courtesy of the lovely Donyale)
1 top, 1 girl's dress, 2 bamboo handles, 2 doll's dresses (op-shop)
1 layby paid off (stocking stuff for children - 4 boys t-shirts
3 books knitting patterns (gift in from stepmother!)

1 pair shoes (gift)
1 large bag clothes (op shop)
1 bag hats and toys (child care centre)
4 bags children's clothes (ebay)
1 cot (sold)
1 car seat (sold)
25 kg of walnuts (sold)
1 book (gift)
4 pairs girls shoes (gift)

The work continues - I hope to have several boxes leaving the house this weekend!

Monday, October 22, 2007

I Love Paris in the Springtime... (NO, Not THAT Paris!)

You Belong in Paris

You enjoy all that life has to offer, and you can appreciate the fine tastes and sites of Paris.
You're the perfect person to wander the streets of Paris aimlessly, enjoying architecture and a crepe.

It's interesting, because Paris along with Florence and Rome, is one of my favourite cities. I have always found the Parisians friendly and polite (don't laugh) with one exception. Perhaps it's because I'm an Australian and they really don't think that Australians should speak French, or perhaps because my cookbook and Ballet French is so laughably bad that they thought I was.. ummm... intellectually challenged and they had to be nice to me! Regardless, I've always had a great time in France - in Nice we met a restauranteur who had spent time in Australia who kept bringing out the GOOD wine while we chatted, and on another occasion I couldn't remember the address of our hotel and we went round and round and round and round the Pigalle roundabout in a taxi with the meter turned off while the patient taxi driver waited until I remembered what the street looked like! (I did incidentally, otherwise I would still be there!)

Ahh, Paris, City of food - and shoes! I'd like to go shopping with Rosered in Paris - I think we could scare any shoe shop owner into submission!

Here is the finished Juno!!

Although I did block it by steaming it, I have had to wash it properly, because the wool has a very strong dye smell, and I wanted to get rid of it! I love it - despite the miles of 2x2 rib and the miles and miles and miles of not 4 (because I was obviously stunned) but 6 interlacing cables and 2 extra baby cables on each side!

I have also almost finished the tulips socks and have the invention socks ready to start and all the materials for my tea cosy swap ready to go! It's knitting central here, guys!

Due to being harrassed by a small and very loud boy (who'd have thunk it!) This is only a short blog - have to collect the Princess from school and hear all about the kindergarten trip to a wildlife park - including local examples, plus exotica such as Tyson the Bison! Pray for me!

Friday, October 19, 2007

Every Home Should Have One...

Okay. Please admire this. (Shoe is for scale). This is Juno’s collar. It is finished, but unblocked (as you probably noticed). This is my first ever attempt at cables and I did nearly 6 freaking feet of them – four intertwined lines, edged with four more lines.

It looks like this when you get closer.

I can’t believe the sheer scale and gorgeousness of what I have created. I am continually impressed by the amazement of knitting. By the way – if you see any mistakes (I know there is one stitch in there that is not doing what it is supposed to and I’ve decided to live with it because it was 2 feet from the end when I saw it!), I don’t want to know – really, I don’t. (You don’t see any, do you – because – well I’d just have to cry at you and then we’d both be embarrassed and I look so awful when I cry – you know how it is – drippy, swollen, red nose – what do you mean you can’t see any difference from the way I look normally? I’m going to cry!)
I like to think of that stitch as the deliberate imperfection included by a knitter. Japanese master potters always marred their work slightly, introducing a deliberate imperfection to make their work human, and to not challenge the gods. Every time we packed a kiln, someone would do something that made them bleed (accidentally, not on purpose – though if there had been no blood….), and we always considered that a sacrifice to ensure the firing went smoothly.

That misplaced stitch is my sacrifice. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

On a different note, I thought I’d include this photo of the incredibly originally named Blue Lake. The colour has not been touched and it is a very grey day – isn’t that the most gorgeous aqua you have ever seen? Apparently the white clay at the bottom of the lake reflects the sky, but if that is so, by my reckoning the water ought to be a drab grey with dark grey overtones.

I have a theory. I have decided that the world consists of two types of people (stop me if you’ve heard this before). The first type is the instruction reader. When they receive a new appliance or gadget, they open the box, remove the instructions, read them from cover to cover, acquainting themselves fully with the device and its controls. They ensure they understand its quirks and the expected outcomes and results. Only when this process is complete, will they unpack the appliance or gadget, carefully removing all components from the box, assemble it and turn it on. My husband is this type of person.

The second type receives a gadget, rips the box open, whacks it together and turns it on. They may mutter things like ‘Yup – this bit goes here’ and ‘I wonder what that is for?’. They may occasionally look at the picture on the outside of the box – just a glance to check that it looks roughly right. They will refer to the instruction manual if, and only if, the device will not work, breaks down, or makes a peculiar noise. I am this type of person.

In 1998, we bought a 6 year old, second hand BMW. The Accountant had coveted a BMW since he was a teenager, and now he owned one (in both our names, of course). He read the 240 page manual from cover the cover several times, making sure he really understood this piece of German engineering perfection. Then he told me I wasn’t allowed to drive it until I read the manual. I didn’t drive the car for nearly a year. I still haven’t read the manual – I just waited him out.

I thought about this again yesterday, when a friend rang to ask if the Accountant would chauffeur her eldest son to his Grade 10 School Leavers’ Dinner. In Tasmania, you finish high school in grade 10 – except in some private schools which offer classes to grade 12. Grades 11 and 12 are offered at matriculation colleges, on separate campuses and with entirely different rules to high schools. They generally don’t require a school uniform and have a more relaxed attitude to pupils coming and going from school property.

They were originally designed as a bridge to the independence of university. Now they mainly exist to keep kids off unemployment lines and try to get them to stay at school until they’re 18. Tasmania has the lowest rates in Australia of school retention to grade 12, mainly due to this system.

But, back to the Leavers’ Dinner. I remember when this couple started dating. I remember when the son was born – the Accountant and I have been together longer than he has been in the world. This is a sobering fact – or perhaps the sort of fact which requires drunkenness – I’m still working on that one. Of course he can arrive in the BMW.

There is a tradition of arriving in exotic transport for these dinners. Rich parents have supplied helicopters and limousines. Inventive parents and children have used enormous trucks, tractors, horses (with and without carriages) and all types of cares – from the sublime (beautiful vintage cars) to the ridiculous (tuktuks and gogomobiles). It’s all part of the fun.

So he will get the BMW. He’s just got to clean it first!

Monday, October 15, 2007

In and Out and In-Between

I am nerdier than 62% of all people. Are you a nerd? Click here to find out!

Well, the de-cluttering fairy has certainly been giving MY place a miss this week!

(Just been to the op-shop)

Lovely lined straw tote with bamboo handles
Stone coloured linen skirt
Overnight bag for Princess
Gorgeous fine wool purple Country Road jumper (going straight out again – gift for stepmother)
2 balls of gorgeous sock yarn – not from op – shop – from ebay
Turkish drop spindle
Addi turbo needle
6 bamboo buttons for Juno


2 balls sock yarn – sold on ebay
10 items children’s clothing - sold on eBay
The appalling cone winder of doom – sold on ebay
1 box assorted stuff – school fete white elephant stall
1 bag clothes etc – Lifeline (I buy so much from them, it’s only fair I replace it sometimes!)
Gorgeous purple jumper see above (gift)

In – 9 items (counting buttons as 1)
Out -16 items
Just made the 7 things this week – will have to do better for next week!

Now, speaking of obsession – I forgot to mention some incredibly telling signs of obsessions (yes, yes, they do all apply to me, and, I’m extremely glad to say, to most of you too. In fact, it’s very telling that most of you didn’t turn a hair when reading the list, which only goes to show that we may have a teeny, weeny problem here, Houston).

You may have an obsession if:

- you visit the Jansz winery, which specialises in champagne style saparkling wines (take THAT, appellation controllee). You try the yummy wines. You buy some yummy wines. You buy a bottle of the expensive vintage sparkling champagne-y wine (hah!! Appellation Controlleee). Your very first thought is’ Look at the great packaging for that bottle – my knitting needles will fit in that lidded tube beautifully!’

- you are still trying to work out a method of knitting while asleep

- you are evangelical in your pursuit of non-knitters

- many of your non-knitting friends have begun to get a glazed, yet hunted, look in their eyes when you speak to them of knitting. Nevertheless, you are sure that if you could only explain the excitement to them properly they would take up your standing offer of lessons and learn to knit.

- you drink the vintage champagne-y sparkling wine and, guess what – the needles fit in the tube brilliantly.

One of our Canadian friends didn’t understand the Catweazle reference in my post from a few days ago. Catweazle (for the un-initiated, and those below a certain age (pah)), was a BBC children’s series from the 1970s, starring Geoffrey Bayldon, about an inept Medieval magician and alchemist who is transported to the 20th century, and his adventures in the 1970s. He tended to fizz and pop when confronted with modern technology, become addicted to bananas and adored ‘Electrickery!’ People of a certain age (yes, yes, alright, ME!) still giggle and use that term.

Mind you, I STILL think faxes are magic – you put a drawing in one end, and out it comes in Hong Kong or Murmansk (or both if you have my fax!). Remarkable invention, and much spiffier than teletypes.

Technology and I are old foes despite my nerd rating– my computer keyboard, for example, has swapped the AT and the “. I have to think every time I type in my email address and go for the quotation mark key, and not the ‘at’ key. In time, this will become habitual, and whenever I use a properly working keyboard, I will get them mixed up and have problems with everyone’s email address.

On a more selfish note, ignore everything Donyale said about sales at a certain yarn shop. I’m sure they’re not really having one. Stay away. You won’t like the yarn. Truly. Bound to be awful. Itchy. Splitty. Really. Please don’t buy all the things I want before I can get there!

Sunday, October 14, 2007

You Might Be An Obssessed Knitter If.......

Yup. You might be obsessed when:

- you decide on your projects and pack them first for a trip

- you take 4 knitting projects, despite the fact you’re only going away for 2 nights (after all, there’s quite a lot of driving involved)

- you visit a new town. You visit the thrift shops – and ask if they have yarn. Or patterns. You look for yarn shops. You visit the only craft shop in town. It has one small stand of Patons wool in a very large space. They stock Country, Baby, Jet and Patonyle sock yarn. You actually stand there thinking about buying some – despite the fact that your stash is greater than the GDP of Outer Mongolia and you don’t use much Patons. Your stash is WAAAAAYYYYY bigger than this entire yarn stock.

- you go out to dinner, drink lots of red wine and attempt to design and knit a lace pattern in kid mohair. After spending the night knitting, you have to frog the lot, but YOU FEEL OK ABOUT THIS!

- you finish a sock, but have forgotten darning needles for grafting. You work out a method of grafting which takes another, finer double pointed needles and three times as long. It works. You are happy about this.

- you get five minutes of quiet time all to yourself. You use this time to tink back 4 rounds on a sock to where the count went funny, instead of relaxing or drinking wine.

- you wake in the middle of the night, in a strange room, and can’t get back to sleep. You spend the rest of the night working out 2 sock patterns, a reversible scarf pattern and a blog entry for when you get home.

- you miss your pattern books

- you worry about what blogpals have been doing while you haven’t been watching

- your queue of ‘want to knit this’ is so long that you are unlikely to make much of a dent in it before your 70th birthday. You feel OK about this.

- your stash has become so large that it now lives in 3 places. You seriously consider moving out all the sheets and towels in the walk in linen press, just so all your stash can be together

- you see a new sock yarn. You become rather anxious because you realise all the sock yarn in the world can’t be yours.

- you see a gorgeous DPN kit. You begin to scheme about ways to obtain one.

- your blog pals and fellow knitters occupy the first places on your Christmas list.

- you look forward to fellow knitter’s birthdays and Christmas, because you get the joy of buying yarn without actually adding it to your stash

- there are very few waking moments when knitting doesn’t occupy your thoughts. It is occasionally supplanted by thoughts of children and food. And wine. And books. But not as often as would be healthy.

- you wonder how this obsession crept up on you – but you aren’t all that bothered.

We had a road trip at the weekend, up to the North East of our beautiful state. We visited the town of the Accountant’s childhood and looked at the house where he lived. We drove about. We went to Mt William National Park and saw wombats and Bennett’s wallabies with joeys in their pouches. We went to the place I camped on a trip with the girls many years ago (it’s still a very nice spot and right on the beach).

We went out to a very nice dinner. Our waitress was a knitter. She liked my socks. It was a lovely break, except for the fact the weather was very windy and wet and quite cold. The place we stayed was great and the swimming pool was inside and heated (the Princess thought it was wonderful).

I had lots of time to knit in the car and finished one Feather and Fan sock and got halfway down the cuff on the other. I forgot a darning needle and missed my patterns.

I enjoyed not cooking for 2 nights. It’s not that I don’t like cooking, because I do. I just don’t enjoy the pressure of coming up with something that everyone in the family will think is wonderful every single night. Last night was 2 minute noodles for the kids and bruschetta and antipasto for the adults. This involved virtually no cooking. It’s a break that feels like a holiday.

I think I may be just a little knitting obsessed. I came back to Juno like an old friend and got 2 repeats done, so it is very likely (all knitting goddesses permitting) that I will finish the collar this week. If all goes particularly well, I may also block, sew and complete Juno this week. Then I can concentrate on socks. And Christmas presents. And Tea Cosies (for the swap) and the Swing Jumper. And Bella. And more socks.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Prances With Wolves

Thinking of children (as I currently have no choice in this – due to the fact they are screaming in the next room), leads me to ponder Ms Madmad’s post about leaving them to be raised by dogs.

I wish I had thought of this option when we HAD a dog. But being raised by dogs can’t be too bad, can it? I mean, Romulus and Remus were raised by a dog (yes, yes split hairs all you want, but a wolf is definitely a TYPE of dog – so they were raised by dogs). They went on to found Rome. Rome is one of my favourite cities. You can always get great food, there is good espresso on every corner, wine is good and cheap and when you have a bad day, grappa is available. Plus the fact that it is beautiful, walkable and there’s lots of eye candy about – what more could you want of a city?

Other achievers include Mowgli – also raised by wolves – but a bear and a tiger also helped. He had books written about him and his animal companions.

In fact, lots of children have been raised by animals. Enough that there was an entire unit in undergraduate psychology about it and a zillion books written on the subject. I mean, most of these kids were OK – sure, they didn’t speak, but given my children at present, that might not be such a bad thing.

I have lots of ideas about child rearing. I have a theory that all mothers should grow an extra pair of arms during each pregnancy. You really need those arms and you need more when you have another child. Let’s see – you need arms to carry the baby, and the baby stuff, and the car keys, and your bag and the shopping. Then you need more arms to keep your sunglasses on your head and to open doors and press buttons. And to push the stroller. And catch the toddler when he does a runner.

The arms may make you look a little like Kali, but you’d be a repository for odd jumpers with four or six arms, and they’d be sooooo useful. The arms could wither away when the children turn – oohhh 14 or so.

In addition to the arms, you should get a child’s remote control at the same time the baby appears. This would only have 3 buttons – a mute button, a volume control and a stop button. Some people would argue for a slow button, but a stop would do.

The number of times I have wished for a mute button (when on the phone to officialdom or tradespeople – or just on the phone really – to real people over 95cms tall), or a volume control as the screaming and shouting and whining increases, or a stop button BEFORE the child falls off the chair or runs into traffic. The laughter of children is great – but it’s loud!!!

In other news, Juno continues to grow, slowly. I managed 2 repeats of the cables last night, and estimate there are probably at least 7-8 repeats to go. This weekend will be almost entirely devoted to socks (road trip) but also possibly some work on Christmas gift scarves.

Have a great weekend – hope for some sunshine for us (instead of gales and blizzard – it IS meant to be spring after all)!!

Monday, October 8, 2007

In, In, In, In, Out

Well, this week the 7 things challenge is not going quite so well as I would have hoped!!!

The problem was definitely with the ‘IN’ side of the ledger, so:

9 books (my first ever Amazon order because the Australian dollar is high!)
Elizabeth Zimmermann: Knitting without Tears, and Knitting Workshop

Knitters Handy book of patterns and Handy book of sweater patterns

Sensational knitted socks
Socks, Socks, Socks
Interweave Favourite Socks
The Yarn Harlot Casts Off
Fitted Knits (your fault Miss Spidey – you gave it such a great rap, and you’re right)

4 balls turquoise mohair from the op-shop
1 Jemima doll + 1 dress from op shop
2 balls Jo Sharp DK
2 balls Mist kid mohair
2 hair thingies
Catweazle DVD (from children for me for Christmas – snicker, snicker)
4 balls Cascade Fixation for SSS
11 Balls Bendi Neon (not entirely sure why I decided on 11 – just felt right) in Bracken


Not enough, obviously.

3 pairs boys shoes - gift
2 children’s books – gift
1 bag assorted clothes – Lifeline
2 bags children’s clothes – sold on eBay
Several broken toys – surreptitiously slipped into rubbish bin!

Thinking about this challenge, 2 things strike me. Firstly, I’m including things for the children on my list, which is fair enough because I generally buy or otherwise acquire them, but it does inflate my totals, and secondly, there’s a lot of intended Christmas presents slipping in there, so maybe I’m more organised than I thought.

Kate has just posted about our lovely blogpalfest a couple of weeks ago, so slip over and check out the photo of the 10 metre camellia tree – I have 2 and the one we’re standing under is the smaller one!

On the knitting front, I’m back to Juno’s collar. The cable’s flow more easily now – I’m using Jill’s needleless cabling technique for the small cables and the cable needle for the big ones, which makes it faster, but I’ve still got at least 16 repeats to go (woe, woe and thrice woe!!!) This means at least a week more. However, we’re going away this weekend, so the socks will get a workout!!

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Zippedee-doo-dah, Zippedee - ay!!

The Clappy has left the needles, I say again, the Clappy has left the needles!

That’s right, the Knitting Goddess smiled upon me and I finished the Clapotis on Saturday night – so a 16 evening knit, including my presence at 2 unavoidable non-knitting meetings and an evening of entirely fruitless tinking, knitting, tinking, knitting because I have no memory and can’t write decent instructions to myself.

Comments: I love it, and fully intend to do another next autumn in wool or wool blended with something – the corn fibre drapes beautifully and looks very nice:

But it has no memory and is, effectively, un-blockable. It’s also not so warm, so great around the shoulders on a cool night, but no so great for the real cold. I also must have MUCH wider shoulders that the designer, as it’s not as long for me – but I presume that if I’d used wool I could have blocked it longer. On the definite plus side it took 5 (yup, 5) 50 gr balls of the aMaizing (130m/50gr), so 250gr rather than 400gr.

Yesterday’s surprise lunch for my Father in Law was great – and was, indeed, a total surprise. It was his 70th birthday and lots of fun. The added bonus was knitting time in the car coming and going to the northern capital, so my Tulip FandF sock is on the instep stretch (sock on!).

This week, however, I intend to finish Juno. She has waited very patiently for me to return to the cables, been shunted aside for my case of the Clappy and I will now finish her collar, block and sew her (because given how cold the weather is, I will need to wear her for the next month or so!).

I managed to prepare a tomato bed on Saturday, but everything has stalled since then, so hopefully the tomato plants will get into their bed tomorrow. Raven, if you ever get to Tasmania, I will happily provide room and board in return for some gardening help!!

It was also fun getting dressed and made-up (rare events since the advent of motherhood). I wore a new kimono style top and new red Rivers shoes, and actually felt rather good! The Princess loved wearing a party dress (her mother was also pleased because any wear for a party dress is a good thing before it’s grown out of), and even Destructoboy looked respectable.

All in all, a good weekend. Finished the new Southern Vampire novel and can now return to the book which keeps getting put aside because library books always take precedence over those I own, After all, there are no overdue fines on MY books!

I also invented a rather nice barley and lentil pilau, involving the above ingredients plus preserved lemons and ground coriander, sumac and a finely chopped tomato (inserted at the end). It makes enough to feed an army and has provided meals for days – I’ve been teaming it with gently sautéed gourmet mushrooms for lunches at least twice (enoki, shitaki and oyster) – yum!

Back to the grindstone – washing up and tidying await me!

Friday, October 5, 2007

The French Probably have a Word For This

Why is it that I have my best ideas at 4am and then never remember them later? At 4 am this morning, I was lying in bed, having got up to comfort a sick child (now son – daughter better) and was thinking about knitting (as you do) and the blog (as you do), and came up with a wonderful, wise, witty yet highly amusing take on life, the universe, and everything. Unfortunately, I have no idea now what I was thinking about then.

So unless it suddenly comes back to me, you’ve missed out!

Spring is definitely here.

These are living proof of why laziness is a wonderful thing – as is the fine art of procrastination. The first year we moved back to Tasmania (2000), I planted tulips in what was then a flower bed. Seven years later, we’ve ditched the flower bed, but I never moved the tulips, despite fully intending to for at least 4 years. They have now naturalised, and come up happily every year, spreading over a wider and wider area (which then can’t be mowed because of the tulips). Ain’t they grand?!?

Additional proof of spring is supplied by this:

This is the weeping cherry with the Mt Fuji ornamental cherry in the background. Don’t they look fine? Normally I don’t approve of pointless trees – especially those which only look good for about 2 weeks a year – but when they look good, they certainly look great!

My favourites are fruit trees, because they look great, then you get fruit. This garden has been established for a loooooonnnngg time. We have evergreen magnolias well over 15 metres tall, we have camellia trees – not bushes, trees over 10 metres tall (just ask Kate), quinces and apples, enormous old mulberry trees held together with equally enormous bolts and every spring flower you can think of.

The poor garden is horribly neglected, but does its best to look good under the most trying of circumstances. I have tomatoes I must plant out, but I am a bit loath to do so, give the fact that we’ve had gales and hail, rain and wind, sunshine and there’s STILL snow on the mountains.

It’s hard to believe that NSW and the ACT are sweltering, when it’s so cold here.

On the knitting front, I’ve been working on a sock design for SSS and hope to have it written up and on the needles next week. Some of it baffled me when I tried to translate a lace stitch into not only knitting in the round, but knitting in the round inside out and upside down. We’ll see.

The Happy Clappy will be finished tonight (having said that so confidently, I am bound to be struck down by the knitting Goddess, so I’ll re-phrase it). I hope to have the Clappy finished tonight – It looks beautiful, even if I do say so myself, and I can definitely see another one sometime in the future.

The Princess has improved, healthwise at least – I’ve considered listing her on eBay several times in the past week, but I doubt anyone would bid. Now Destructoboy has been struck down. It’s an odd lurgy, this one. Mild fever, general lassitude and off the food-ness, some headache and sleepiness, and a high level of whinginess and clinginess. Just what a mother needs!

The sad fact is, that when they’re REALLY sick, they’re actually terribly nice. Small, snuggly and sweet. When they’re on the mend they’re whiny, whingy and annoying – prone to tantrums and unexplained storms. When they started fighting and yelling at each other last week, we knew the Princess was well enough for school.

So, she only attended half the circus class, but did manage her entire 45 minute first swimming class yesterday and actually swam – huge excitement all round.

That’s more than enough. We’re off tomorrow to the northern Capital for a surprise party (ssshhhh! Don’t tell!) and I will finally get some sock knitting in on the lovely Tulip feather and fans. Hurrah!!

Hopefully life will return to what we fondly regard as normal by next week!

Monday, October 1, 2007

In Sickness, and More Sickness

We’re back to needing wine again, folks! I had to collect Princess from school at lunchtime as she faded again. She’s been knocked around by some bug – fever, tiredness and sometimes a headache – but went to school today because I figure that if you’re well enough to fight with your brother and yell at your mother, then you’re well enough for school!

My mistake – she lasted the morning then went downhill. She and the aforesaid brother are watching ‘Peter Pan’ and squabbling quietly while I write this post!

Sorry – just got noisy and required intervention!

OK – the De-cluttering Stakes (As of today!):


Red Bird Sock kit for September (I haven’t knitted any yet!) a mosaic sock using Jo Sharp Silkroad

2 balls gorgeous sock yarn from Donyale
4 balls of Blue Schepeswol from Good Yarn Karma

400 grms Touch DK wool

100 gr Touch boucle mohair in copper, browns etc

100 gr Touch brushed mohair

The red shoes
3 bras
1 wrap cardi from Op-shop
Some kids stuff from Op shop
6 gorgeous large crystal beads – op-shop


6 Bags kids clothes sold on ebay
1 crappy video – (rubbish)
2 balls sock yarn – ebay
1 large bag stuff to Lifeline
1 Nightie –gift
Bottles and jars – recycled through local veggie shop
1 bag kids shoes –gift
Book – Gift
4-5 pattern books for Taph! (posting today!)

I’m going to say that I’m slightly in front again this week, but I’ve been a bit of a yarn pig! The next few weeks are likely to be better – the School Fete is in 6 weeks and I intend to donate LOTS to the white elephant and book stalls!

In other news, I won a voucher to the lovely Donni’s Knitpicks store, which I think I will use to expand my Options kit! Lucky me and even luckier Georgie – winning an Options kit – She’s over the moon!!

I would love to spend more time on Ravelry – at present I upload the odd (some VERY odd) photo to Flick’r and try to list that on Ravelry, but that’s about it – I do drop by to collect messages though!

The Accountant has weakened and given my (over)use of the Web has upgraded me to a 12 gig plan (hurrah). This is basically unlimited but slows after the first 12 gig every month – I can live with that!

Glorious spring day – spent some of my limited morning off in finally finishing the Squatty Sidekick (by sewing on a button) and I did some time in the ‘Green Gym’ raking up grass!

Back to the slaughterhouse – I will make pizza tonight which allows for cold pizza lunches for the next day or so – and cool the fevered brow of my first born. I will also wait for the Accountant to get home so I can pour my first glass of the good stuff. Cheers!