Monday, December 29, 2008

So, this is Christmas!

Look at us - running down the slippery end of the year and into a new year in 2 days time.

All that anticipation and excitement for Christmas over and done with, and the strange, disconnected week between the big day and the year's end almost over. We had a very busy Christmas. We cleaned all Christmas eve, because of the gathering on Christmas day, including doing some preparation for Christmas dinner, were woken at 5.50am by a very excited Princess, who had found the stocking Santa left her (Santa does the stockings and mum and dad do the big presents under the tree in our house. Everyone who stays under our roof on Christmas eve gets a Santa stocking. They follow the rule of 'something to eat, something to read and something to play with' as an absolute minimum.)

Then it was stuff the turkey and get it roasting, get the pudding organised, open presents, get back to the kitchen, wash up, tidy, move furniture, get organised. I think, apart from wolfing lunch, I didn't sit down until after 4pm. Rosered - I was also wearing gold espadrilles with 4 inch wedge heels and ankle straps - and I admit I was glad to take them off when everyone finally left.

It was busy and fun and we had batteries and the Princess adored Dougal and he is her new favourite toy. She didn't even seem to notice that she hadn't received the Baby Born which was on the top of her Christmas list.

Santa managed to find the blue necklace and golf bat requested by Destructoboy (whew!) and he adored a remote controlled robot chosen by his sister (and paid for by his parents). All good.

It's been pleasant having everyone home and not really having anywhere we have to be (apart from the Accountant's radiation appointments). We have finally finished the last of the leftover turkey (in fritters last night) and now have to get to work on the ham (pasta and peas and ham tonight I think). We had cherries (lucky I ordered early, because they sold out - and I gave half my order up to a distressed lady who had promised some to her daughter). I had champagne and the Accountant and I both enjoy the Mighty Boosh DVDs - we've been laughing ourselves sick!

Christmas is over for another year. I am more thankful than I can say for all my blog and knitting friends. 2009 is on the horizon, and I'm back to work on Monday. Sigh.

I've managed a sewing day - project bags and skirts for the Princess and me; finished 2 pairs of socks from the WIP pile, done 6 repeats on the shetland triangle and had a play in the stash.

New Years Resolutions? Knit more. Learn to spin. Spend more time doing fun stuff with my family. Knit more. Buy less. Have fun. Knit more. Eat less, exercise more. More of the same, really. What about you?

Happy New Year, everyone!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Sssh! Nobody mention the `C' Word....

Yes - it's 2 sleeps until the fat man arrives - no, not the Accountant - he wouldn't be caught in a red suit - the other one - the one who comes on C.. C... Ccc... - in 2 sleeps - December 25 - that one.

I have finished the stealth knitting. Please meet Dougal, from the Magic Roundabout (for those old enough to remember). He is for the Princess, and is the first knitted toy I have ever made. It's an Alan Dart pattern and was not too much of a stretch. I'm quite proud of him. I even made the pompoms - luckily I remembered a little gizmo in the Princess's french knitting set....

I have also finished one Holidazed sock, the December kit from the Rockin' Sock Club '08. I am still havering about whether to rejoin next year. Maybe if the dollar improves....

I have managed 2 body repeats on the Shetland Triangle - my very small Contribution to the Long Lacey Summer. I love this, but haven't had much time recently....

And in the spirit of Christmas, a beautiful package from Bells - some Kaalund lace yarn - sooooooo gorgeous - and a lovely knitted handtowel - thank you so much Bells - beautifully chosen - and Princess has already attempted to steal it!

So, just in case I don't get back to do another post before Cccccc - ccc - Christmas! Have a merry and safe Christmas, and a happy, and healthy 2009. My the fat guy - no NOT the Accountant - the other one! bring you all the things you desire, but don't forget those who are doing it tough over Christmas - and make sure you help out the groups who help them!

Merry Christmas, one and all!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Christmas is coming....

I receive two parcels yesterday.

Guess who this one was from? There is a clue - look at the card!

The lovely Rosered sent me some beautiful Malabrigo sock yarn - in the truly gorgeous Velvet grapes colour way, and the lovely card and the photo of their new house - they look so happy!

The second was from KateJ - my secret Santa person from the Tasmanian knitters group on Ravelry. Coffee, chocolate (Stuff the turkey, eat chocolate), gorgeous stitch markers, a mini sock (for my christmas tree) and the most gorgeous yellow button necklace! Thank you so much Kate!! It's is beautiful, very well stalked and much appreciated!

In other news, the Knightly Knitter and her family were a true joy, as always - bless the kniternet for my great bloggy friends!
Knitting continues, but not enough of it. The Accountant is OK but a bit tired and grumpy with the treatment and travelling, We had the gorgeousness of the prep class Christmas concert and Nativity Play last night - they looked beautiful, I forgot the camera (d'oh) and all these loud children were as quiet as mice. Lovely.

Will blog again soon - and just in case I still haven't thanked you enough for the hug - thank you! (it's still a bit on the cool side down here - and the hug is coming in very handy!)

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Thank you!

You are all utterly wonderful!

I really can't thank you enough for this amazing stealth project. I was totally blown away (as Kate can attest) and couldn't really believe she had organised and coordinated this and you had all participated.

Thank you for our knitted hug. A hug which will be much used by both of us in coming years.

I still can't really believe you all did this - so thank you all a thousand times over.

You gave me the greatest gift, even without this - your time, your skill, your thoughts and....
your friendship.

If karma rules (as I'm sure it does) you will all receive wondrous rewards for making me so happy!

To whom it may concern....

Dear Knitters,

I am currently in receipt of one (1) large knitted hug. It is my understanding that this article of sneakiness was actually coordinated by my friend, the Knightly Knitter. I would like to say, here and now, that I am completely blown away by your remarkable gift!

Not only am I just amazed at its beauty and the wonderful thoughts and cards I received - which I am going to actually be up front about, and admit that I had a jolly good cry (and a good thing we had new tissues - because we ran out 2 days ago and I only bought some more today).

But I am also just totally amazed at the sneakiness of Kate and at the remarkable kindness of a whole passel of knitters (or should that be a stitch of knitters, or a row of knitters, or a rib of knitters?)

Thank you all - thank you thank you. I will post pictures tomorrow when I have light to show the wonderfulness of this gift), and will thank all of you by email, but in the meantime thank you a thousand times

Thank you all for my hug!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

You may be experiencing some breaks in transmission....

I can’t believe how slack I am (or perhaps it is how busy I’ve been). So here is a pretty FO – Mr Greenjeans in Blue Moon Fiber Arts Twisted (colour – Space Dust)

Utterly love it. The button isn’t quite perfect, but will do until a better one comes along.

It has been worn quite a lot, because it is still cold around here. I don’t think we’ve made it to 20 degrees C yet. Cherries aren’t ripening (there is a rumour there may not be cherries for Christmas – criminal), and neither are raspberries. I’m still wearing socks and haven’t put sandals on yet. We’ve barely seen the sun, and did our entire average November rainfall in about 3 days at the end of the month. Ptui!

However, this has meant that knitting is still a joy. Knitting WIPs – first, a second gathered pullover (acres of stocking stitch – wonderful for drag-along-with-us mindless knitting) in scarlet Allegro from Bendigo. Nice, if a little splitty.

I am making the Princess a Dougal toy (from `The Magic Roundabout). This is a stealth project for the hours after kidlets are in bed. It is also in acrylic, (Magnum 8ply) so it gets a few rows every night – I am almost finished the body.

The December socks from the Rockin’ Sock Club – the final shipment. It is utterly gorgeous yarn (Socks that Rock Mediumweight) and the Holidazed pattern is easy and fun – this means I have knitted the first shipment (Serendipity – now finished at last) and the last – I must have a go at a couple from the middle!

I seem to have slaked my cardi lust, just for the moment. Nothing has happened on the Shetland triangle for ages, because I have rediscovered the unutterable joy of socks, and plan to knit lots of lacey ones – and even a pair for the accountant (Hallo, Opal 6ply).

The Accountant continues with the daily 200km round trips. This is getting old really fast, but apart from a doozey of a cold, he seems tired, but OK. Again, thanks for the good wishes.

In much more exciting news, we received a wonderful parcel yesterday from the remarkable Elizabeth of the Postcard Project. I saw a link to this on Jejune’s blog, followed it and read about this incredible person and her wonderful postcards. Apparently we have postcards coming too, but the parcel beat them!

Please, visit her blog and read about this amazing project.

Some of you seem rather surprised by the downstairs sock stash. Rosered, it is downstairs, because that is where I mainly knit – and spend most of my time – this allows me to play with, fondle and generally appreciate the sock yarn. I think of it more as a retirement fund (one which has not lost its value in the current economic upset). It probably won’t get large amounts added anytime soon (except possibly from Bendi) due to the fact that the AUD is so awful at present (Why? Why is this? Why is the US worse off than we are and yet our money is worth less? I don’t understand – and that is probably why I am not an economist.).

A little bit of Malabrigo snuck into the house, as did a teeny bit of Cascade. This is only because I know prices will have to go up soon because of the exchange rate. This is financial prudence and has nothing to do with the fact that I am a yarn pig. So there.

I am feeling vaguely virtuous, because I posted my interstate and overseas parcels. The feeling wears off when I remember that I have not yet done the Christmas cards at all.

I have callously importuned the wonderful 2Paw and her recipes will be appearing in our paper next week. In between, small amounts of cooking and even smaller amounts of house work are being done.

I will try very hard to Blog again soon. The Lovely Knightly Knitter and her family are coming to visit for the weekend, so hopefully I will have pictures and fun stuff! Thanks again for your good wishes, enjoy the weekend!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

One or two skeins or sock yarn.....


In the interests of nearly full disclosure here is……

Most of my downstairs sock yarn.

I say most, because it doesn’t include the 30ish packs I’ve made up, of paired pattern and yarn to make my very own sock club (sort of).

It doesn’t include downstairs WIPs, or some of the sock yarn which has been whisked away to become something other than socks (there’s a couple of scarves, a shawls and so on in this category).

It certainly doesn’t include the UPSTAIRS sock yarn, which is predominantly ‘commercial’ – that is – Patonyle, Miami, Regia, Arwetta, etc etc etc. There is some hand dyed/hand painted up there, but after collecting the downstairs stash together, I had to put my head between my knees and breathe deeply for a while.

So there it is.

Yet another guilty secret exposed.

More random stuff:

I should have mentioned that an Australian size 14 is around an American 10-12. Just in case our trans-Pacific friends didn’t appreciate the magnitude of my feat! (LOL)

Georgie’s system is still working – it’s just a pity I didn’t get organised this week to use it properly!

I went to the Princess’s last swimming lesson through the school today and was mightily impressed by all of them actually swimming the full length of the 17ish metre pool – 3 times!

I have finally (around 6 years after the rest of the world) finished watching the first series of 24. In case you’re wondering – it was great! I must try to catch the second series sometime before another 6 years goes past. Next on the list? The Sopranoes, Desparate Housewives, Dexter, and Lost. No, I haven’t seen any of those. I only saw my first episode ever of House about 2 weeks ago. I have missed all these because I loathe commercial television. I wish SBS still had the 5 minutes of commercials at the end of their programs. It was a decent length of time to make a cuppa, go to the loo or feed the cat.

I am itching to knit socks again. I have been stealth knitting on the Serendipity socks – the first kit from the Blue Moon Rockin’ Sock Club this year. I am nearly at the heel of the second sock. I think I may have enough sock yarn, just for a while.

Thanks you all for asking and for your good thoughts. The Accountant started treatment this week. He’s tired, but seems fine. He’s rather put out that he’s not allowed to lose any weight. I think he was rather hopeful of dropping a few kilos of cuddliness, but the dietitian has told him that’s a big nono!

I’ve been an insomniac for 37 years. I think it’s starting to catch up with me. Maybe I need more coffee.

That’s it for the moment – I hope to bring you some knitting next post.


Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Random Stuff

Random Stuff

We’re still waiting for news after another round of tests and so on – especially wondering when the radiation therapy will start. I can’t thank you enough for your wonderful comments and good thoughts. I want you to know how much we appreciate them – and you!

So I thought I’d follow Bells lead and blog some random stuff.

1. Suddenly, for the last couple of weeks, all the security letters when I leave comments are ALMOST words – today’s examples: ‘siting’, ‘yvolene’, ‘begest’. Very strange.

2. I’ve been loving knitting with Blue Moon’s Twisted. There’s 500m to a skein – I will finish Mr Green Jeans with less than 2 skeins. It doesn’t split at all, and the dark thread, so obvious when you look at the yarn, magically disappears when you knit. The knitted fabric shows no dark thread at all – weird.

3. My children are part of a conspiracy to drive me insane by ensuring a constant noise level of around a million decibels which never lets up unless they are asleep. I’m wise to them. When I can find the industrial ear-muffs I’m wearing them all day.

4. Watching little kids play cricket is hysterical. They had such fun and I laughed so much my stomach hurt.

5. I’m feeling smug because I am fitting into size 14 trousers. This is a good thing.

6. If you have enough caffeine, you don’t really need to sleep.

7. People are wonderful and kind. The Accountant’s step-brother and his girlfriend decided to ‘pay’ for the accounting work which the Accountant does for them by spending several hours mowing and whipper-snippering for us. There is a place reserved in heaven for them.

8. I’ve been to two sports carnivals in the last fortnights. The commentator said ‘ we take kindergarteners who are just developing coordination skills and tie them to other kids who are only just developing coordination and call it a 3 legged race, and then we watch them fall over and they laugh’. He was right. All the kids fell over and they all laughed. And so did we. And at least 2 pairs never made it to the finish line because they were laughing so hard they couldn’t get off the ground.

9. I have a lot of sock yarn. So I just bought 2 skeins of Malabrigo sock because I thought they needed some company.

10. I love the colours of Malabrigo. I love them so much I even like colours I don’t like.

11. Georgie is a genius. I’ve been using her meal planning and shopping method. I get out a cookbook, try to pick 5 recipes which I believe will use up some of the enormous pantry store I keep in case zombies attack and we have no food for a month or so, use only that cookbook for the week, make the shopping list and record the reactions. This stops me just buying vegetables I might as well throw straight into the compost and skip the intervening step where they go urgh in my crisper drawers.

12. I have startitis. Bells tempted me and I cast on the Shetland Triangle with the Indisch Rot Wollmeise. I have done the 20 necks rows. I will finish this cardigan before I do more.

13. I have managed 18 rows on the socks I started at Easter. I now have one and nearly a half socks. This is the first sock club kit from the Rockin’ Sock Club. It is also the only one I have cast on and the only sock knitting I have done since we returned from Fiji. In June.

Enough randomness. I’m off to feed lunch to Destructoboy, before heading out to the kindie information session. My the Lord have Mercy on their souls. He is looking forward to ‘big school’. So am I.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

The Reasons

Well, just to get you all in a good mood, here is some pretty knitting.

Meet Sprout - Growing Roots. She's made of the Gedifra merino/cotton I bought in the big WEBS sale way back at $2USD a ball. and took 2 weeks and 9 balls. She is currently blocking and just needs buttons added.

In other news, it's not all sunshine and roses. The Accountant has been diagnosed with cancer and will be starting radiation therapy in 2 weeks, He will have to travel 100km each way each weekday for 6 weeks - he will however get Christmas day off. All this has been a huge shock to us, but we feel very lucky that he was diagnosed early, the lump in his neck was removed, and as yet (fingers crossed, toes crossed, Om Mani Padme - positive thoughts) there don't seem to be any other lumps or bumps.
He has to have an MRI and PET scan (in Melbourne) and will be tired, sore, knackered and grumpy - but hopefully well and with us for a long time to come after the treatment.
The cancer is aggressive and he is very young for this type, but we are being very optimistic. Prayers, positive thoughts, good vibrations and all other good things gratefully accepted.
So life will be very topsy turvy for some time. We have cancelled the Christmas holiday, but are hoping for a family trip later in January.
Usually I don't discuss personal stuff in the blog, but I figure lots of positive thoughts can do no harm - and I will take all the help I can get at this point!
Take care - and look after the ones you love.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

A Day in the Country

We had a great day yesterday. We visited Tasmazia, a maze complex and pancake parlour.

There are 4 big persons mazes and 2 kids mazes and a scale model village reflecting the owners sense of humour. Think Cockington Green but much larger houses (1/5th scale) . The great maze is huge, there's a replica of Hampton Court maze, a hexagonal maze and the confusion maze. It's all good, clean, outdoorsy fun.

The children ran and ran and got lost and found things in the mazes (the cubby villagem, the 3 little pigs houses, the 3 bears house and so on), ate pancakes for lunch and again for afternoon tea, crawled over the village, followed the yellow brick road and generally had a wonderful outdoor time. We last went there when the Princess was a baby, and the maze hedges are around 5 feet taller than they were then - and they were about 6 feet tall then!

I can't think why we've left it so long. It's only a bit over half an hour's drive away, it's no more expensive than going to the movies (not that we do that either), you can take a picnic if you don't want to buy pancakes, and it's such great fun for the kids.

Sprout is growing and I am all ready for the Selfish summer Kal and for the summer of lace and the summer of socks. I have tidied and catalogued the several forests worth of downloaded patterns and increased the favourite knitpicks harmony tips.

I am ready. Bring on summer!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Transmission will be interrupted in 5,4,3,2,......

Here is my first Summer of Lace FO. It's a Liesl in Lamb's Pride Cotton Fleece in and unreleased peacock colour. It took 2.5 skeins (around 500 metres!) and 10 days. I love it

On another front, I apologise for not being a good blogger. There's been some very bad stuff happening at present in our lives. All my energy is going into trying to appear normal on a day to day basis, and not screaming, crying or being sick.
We are waiting for news, but in the interim, blogging will be spasmodic. Knitting is happening. I have also been reading blogs, but lurking, rather than commenting. Things are just a bit overwhelming and I can't seem to get it together to write more that the occasional comment.
In the meantime, I'm still here, I can still be emailed (I love to be emailed!), I am still reading all your doings and general excitement (it's all that is keeping me sane), but I may not be commenting and/or blogging much. Forgive me.
Normal transmission will resume as soon as possible.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Carton of Delights

On Friday (I should also add that was Kate the Knightly Knitter's birthday - waves!), I had 5 minutes up my sleeve on my way to work, so I thought I'd check the post box - as you do.

I left behind all the Accountant's work mail and grabbed the registered parcel card lying in there oh-so-innocently! This is what was waiting - nearly 7kg of yum from BMFA! I have dropped my shoe near it so you can get an idea of the scale. This carton of delight was notified as posted last Saturday - so it apparently reached here in 6 days from Oregon. Considering my mail often takes longer than that to get from Sydney, I was pretty impressed.

Inside the box was some serious yarny goodness. Sock yarn, twisted, peru and lace, all lying innocently inside, as if butter wouldn't melt!

I hasten to add, that despite all reports to the contrary, I am not a yarn pig. This gorgeousness was not all mine. Several friends (you know who you are! Don't act all 'Who me?' - you are just as guilty as me!) piggybacked on my order - given that I had to use a discount coupon before the end of October.

I managed to do this order while the Aussie dollar was sliding - but before it tanked completely. Of course, I wish I had done it while the exchange rate was over 90 cents, but there you go, you can't have everything! And it has slaked my need for a yarn fix for some considerable time.

Now, there was a certain level of slow hand clapping for me to display the yarn which might be called stash by people unfamiliar with the Rules of Stash as outlined by the High Priestess of Stash. By these rules, I have 2 jumpers worth of Bendigo, which fall outside the rules and therefore can be considered my only stash. Unfortunately, I also have a 'yarn collection'. We do not have bandwidth to show the inhabitants individually (and I know my Rav stash pages are woefully behind - I will get to updating them at some point, I promise), I though I would give you a bit of a glimpse of the inhabitants in their natural surroundings.

This is the main collection area. It is approximately 2 metres wide by 3 metres deep and runs to about 1.5 metres high.

This is the ancilliary collection area. It keeps growing and consists mainly of 50 litre tubs, but other sizes and boxes and such have also been pressed into service.

This is mainly sock yarn, although some malabrigo seems to have crept in. There is also a collection of patterns and downloads catalogued and stored on the right hand side of the area. This is down staiors for petting purposes.

This is the knitting library (and a big thank you to the Book Depository here, please - the benefit if paying no shipping is the ability to buy more books!).

Just to let you know, there are also 3 jumpers worth which are in bags with their patterns waiting to be cast on, and around 40 pairs of socks worth, also in project bags with their patterns, ready to go (my own private sock club.) They do not appear in these pictures, but would like to make their existence known.

So there it is. My guilty secrets exposed. No more handclaps (slow or otherwise, please). If you want to meet the inhabitants individually, you'll have to come and visit. I'll put the coffee on, and make a cake if you do!

And a big hallo to Toni, who popped in to visit the other day. It's always lovely to meet new knitters and fellow Ravellers. She brought Ravelry Badges with her (2 of which my offspring are proudly wearing ( just in case I forget their names!).

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

A Life......Interrupted.

Sorry about that.

I have just had my witty and incisive post wiped by Blooer so I am cross. We'll try again.

I have been enjoying work and as a community paper journalist I get to talk to people about the things they love, and about gardens and food and prizes. This si great because it means I can come home at the end of the day and tell the kids about gardens and food and books, not car accidents, blood and crime.

I ahve been letting the washing up pile up for the last couple of days and seves it right. SWick of it. People are fed but the stuff which won't fit into the dishwasher is still stacked beside the sink.

I have been enjoying the few days of spring we have had. The trees are in blossom and the tulips are flowering, happily naturalised in the middle of what is now lawn and used to be a flower bed. The apple, pear and quince trees have been wrapped in vaseline smeared greasefproof paper in order to ERADICATE THE SCOURGE OF CODLING MOTH FROM THE UNIVERSE FOREVER!!! EXTERMINATE EXTERMINATE!!


Sorry about that.

Kids are going spring crazy - and I have dug over what will be the tomato bed, so maybe I am a little crazy too.

I am still trying to catch up on all your blog posts - because you are all doing exciting fun stuff - and then you are writing about it! You are likely to only get a comment every few posts. Sorry, but otherwise everything else just falls apart!

I have done a big order to take advantage of a discount from a certain US enabler - I did this when the Aussie dollar had slipped, but before it tanked completely. Given the parlous state of world currency, it may be the last non-Aussie order for a while. However, Bendi is having a sale. So maybe it's not so bad.

As you may be aware, I do have a few skeins of sock and sweater yarn, so that should see me through until the economic situation improves. And the credit card is paid off.

Off to pick up the Princess and sweep her and Destructoboy off to circus school.

If my life were any more exciting, I'd burst!

I Have Been Knitting but Life has Intervened

Knitting and life have both been happening - usually simultaneously! Often with an extra serving of chaos and disorganisation. This has been ably assisted by children. Work has also been putting its oar in and so although life has happened, blogging hasn't.
Here are some FOs - the gorgeous yellow Flair which I adore

and the even more beautiful green February Lady Sweater
Sorry about the photo quality - but at least there ARE photos. I have started a Liesl in cotton fleece.
Work is busy - life goes on.
More later.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Whoops! I seem to have lost a fortnight!

I am a domestic Goddess! (Stop laughing down the back!)

I am making lamb foot-long pizza from this month's Delicious magazine. I don't like the confit idea too much, so I have made a double lot of onion marmalade from a recipe in the Women's Weekly Healthy Heart Cookbook (if you've got it kicking around it lives with a crusted lamb recipe!). This has meant I have been in floods of tears while onions were sliced because I am the world's worst onion slicer and cry for hours.

Many years ago, the Accountant used to wear contact lenses, and had no problem with onions. We used to eat a lot of French onion soup in those days, and this onion marmalade was a staple for things like barbeques and cold meat. Then he had laser surgery on his eyes, threw away the contact lenses and now is almost as bad as me in the onion department!

It's the first really lovely warm springlike day we've had today. The washing line is full and being breezed and sunned upon, things have been tidied up and stash has been enhanced. (Drat)

Rosered has been recording all her yarn ins and outs. I am too scared to do that. There has been some enhancement going on to what some people may refer to as my stash. After a recent large order, and the fact that I also did a Bendigo order while the Allegro was still on sale and then this morning found out the aran and cotton had been reduced (even though the colours are less than inspiring) I was forced to order some nut brown. Just in case.

I have not yet photographed my gorgeous sunshine yellow Flair, although I have worn her several tiimes. The Wicked I frogged has morphed into a February Lady Sweater, and I think I will like her much more that way. I have managed to knit 10 garments so far this year (when the FLS is finished) which I am quite proud of, although my sock knitting has suffered. So for Southern Summer of Socks I will be finishing WIPS and pushing over new boundaries (toe-up and 2 at a time). That's the plan.

I also intend to join Bells and knit a Shetland Triangle in Wollmeise (Indisch Rot, I think), and there is a KAL of the knit for yourself variety, so I may do 'Hey Teach' or Sprout for that.

Work is great, but time consuming, and I will be handing back Amy's manuscript, edited, over the weekend. (another reason why not a lot of blogging has happened - I have been deep in the world of Bitter Moon2 and thoroughly enjoying it!)

Have a lovely week - I'll try and get photos ready for next blog post!


Wednesday, September 17, 2008

In Praise of Spring!

I know, I know. It’s been a week. The weather’s been cold and mainly rainy and I haven’t taken photos. It’s been school holidays. I’m still not human (I sound as if I’ve been smoking 5 packs a day and 20 cigars – and I haven’t smoked for 7 years). Mind you, it’s a pack a day if we’re talking tissues. I’m feeling mainly better and haven’t taken nightime cold and flu tablets for nearly a week, so I’m basically drug free.

I bought some de-stash. I tried to buy yarn from 3 different places today and COULD NOT actually buy from any of them, despite my attempts. So today is obviously not the day to buy yarn. One place didn’t have the quantities I wanted, and then told me I didn’t qualify for the free shipping, at the next the shipping was as much as the yarn and the third kept throwing me into another site and not letting me log on. It’s a sign – and I’m am paying attention.

No yarn for me today. On the up side I did get my Rowan (finally), my Interweave (twice – finally), a new book (Custom Knits), my Wollmeise sock club parcel (mmm – pretty!), and Flair is likely to be finished tonight – and I will have a full skein of sunshine yellow Malabrigo left over!

I frogged both Wicked and Juliet, so will cast on (long after the KAL and general frenzy have finished) the February Lady Sweater. In green Malabrigo from the Wicked.

I am still loving work, and have lured my boss to the dark side, by showing her the forbidden delights of Ravelry,, and waving the Rowan 44 under her nose until she caved. She is in charge of costumes for a local production of Dad’s Army, so Pikey’s garter stitch scarf lives at work and we knit on it while waiting for things to upload/down load or people to call back.

The children are generally childish. The Princess is on an excursion to the northern Captial today (God help them) and Destructoboy has been trying to spell ‘rice’ using Scrabble tiles. For most of the morning.

We all had an excursion to the same northern Capital on Tuesday, mainly for the purposes of shopping. The Princess has suddenly decided that she either a) hates everything in her drawer; or b) that none of it fits her. So she was equipped with 4 long sleeve and 2 short sleeved tops and 3 pairs of legging things, and 2 pairs of shoes. The Accountant has needed new shoes for nearly a year, so he got kitted out. I bought 2 $50 tops reduced to $9.95 on a whim, and trotted into the Doomlight of Spot in the hopes of picking up cheap Jet. Instead, they actually had nice buttons and I bought 3 sets of 6, and 10 balls of Yarn Bee aran bamboo/cotton in a dark olive-y green. This is for ‘Hey Teach’ and as a project has been nominated it does not count as stash.

I’m about to tidy up, wash up, finish the second load of laundry and put on the dishwasher. I hate the fact the Aussie dollar has gone from parity with the US dollar a few months ago to less than 80 US cents today. It means I have to think a lot more before buying things from over there. Probably good for my carbon footprint and my wallet – but it does take a lot of fun out of it.

I’m slowly catching up with all the blog posts. I’ll get there eventually – probably by the end of the weekend. Or maybe not, as my weekend job is currently editing Amy Lane’s new book, Bitter Moon 2 – which is an absolute cracker and a great read. I managed (amongst the ironing, cooking, washing, washing up, children, gym and shopping for food) to get nearly 300 pages done last weekend. I will try for some more in a minute, before going to the library and collecting Princess.

Enjoy life. But don’t write too many blog posts about it – I’m having a hard enough time catching up as it is!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Unclean! Unclean!

Well, it’s a return to plague house conditions here, that’s for sure. I referred to the condition of Destructoboy and myself as Mucusfest – and really, that’s very apt.

We are not nice to be around at present, what with the coughing and the trails of tissues and the assorted leaks and swearing (from me) and complaints (from Destructoboy). I have the attractive pink-eyed and -nosed look of a rabbit with myxomatosis and the IQ to match. I can’t get through a whole senten…. Sorry? What were we saying? Oh, that’s right, how I can’t get through a whole sentence without being…something. Or other. Sorry, my train of thought just de-railed. Again.

So we’re a plague house and not taking it very well either. Princess swanned off to a Party Day at Vacation care in the Accountant’s car while those of us left behind snuffled and coughed. I really think she’s getting the best of it. Being sick tends to make me cranky. And grumpy. And more untidy than usual.

Luckily, I had a visit last night to cheer me up. The lovely, but blogless, Jill dropped in and we discussed nice adult things like knitting, and patterns and the Divine Norah (Gaughan). She was also there when my Rowan 44 finally appeared, nearly a month after everyone else’s. I am not sure whether it is the original or the replacement sent by Rowan – but it is certainly lovely.

Apart from a small amount of yarn acquired from a fellow Raveller’s de-stash, I haven’t bought any yarn for a whole 2 weeks. I think this may be some kind of record. Or it may be prompted by the dire state of my yarn budget. Or the fact that I’m saving up to do a big order in a few weeks. After all, I’m hardly deprived. I have the odd skein to keep me busy.

In knitting news, the end of Flair is in sight, and I have decided to frog Wicked. I adore the green Malabrigo, but the shape is unflattering for me. So it will become something else – hurrah for seamless top-down construction, which should make it easy to unravel.

Work is going well and I am thoroughly enjoying it (especially seeing my first proper story in print). There’s another week of school holidays to go. My survival is possible – though not assured!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Life goes on....and on....and on

It’s been an odd week. The first week of spring is always like this. The four seasons in one day weather (if you don’t like the weather now, come back in 15 minutes). The struck down by sickness feeling which regularly affects people – including me. I’ve been deep in a lurgy, which combines all the drama of coughing like an asthmatic seal with synchronised nose-blowing and general grottiness.

I’m still loving the new job and have been let loose on the unsuspecting general public to interview them and then write stories.

I’ve just received the e-manuscript of Amy Lane’s new book, Bitter Moon II and am dying to get stuck into editing it (and finding out what happens to everyone from BMI).

School holidays are looming and I will be lucky to see the Princess. She apparently wants to attend most days of the vacation care program, and the days she is not doing that she wants to visit friends and play.

Destructoboy has the same lurgy as I do and is much happier. As long as there is something to dismantle or a mess to be made, he’s a happy boy.

I have been knitting. I am so enjoying Flair, and knitting with sunshine yellow Malabrigo is guaranteed to lift the heart, even when the weather outside is cold, windy and wet.

I have managed extra knitting time due to the fact that the Princess has been having rehearsals for the major show for the Circus school. I get to sit in cold halls and theatres and knit while I wait for the three minutes my daughter is on stage along with 10 other 5-7 year olds, none of whom are entirely sure what they should be doing. Doesn’t matter, they all still look cute, charming and funny. This will not be the case when they are 10.

I received some not-stash this week from Wollmeise and from BMFA courtesy of the wonderful Rosered. I have not taken photos. Forgive me.

That’s it really. In between required duties, I have let the house run to wrack and ruin and the dishes pile up. I’ll do it when I feel better – or over the weekend. Whichever comes first.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

And now, back to our scheduled programming....

I apologise for the break in transmission. Life has been topsy-turvey and I am trying to be super organised. I have always admired those women who had children, held down jobs, blogged and crafted (you know who you are), but now my admiration knows no bounds!

I would also like to point out that I work only 2 days per week in the actual office (which requires clothes which do not shriek ‘Mum at home with kids!’; and make up to hide time’s worst ravages, and because I really like lipstick!), and one day equivalent from home. This requires me to make 4 lunches and get three other people organised and dressed and out the door and dropped off at school and childcare and read to and kissed and goodbyed and ensuring I actually have the stuff I need and stories and notebooks and so on – is it any wonder I didn’t make it to the gym on Friday and Monday?

And that is just for TWO days a week. Imagine doing it five days a week? As I said, my admiration knows no bounds. I also said ‘women’ because, although I know some men do this – or share perfectly equally in this morning madness, the burden seems to fall much more on women.

In addition, there have been circus rehearsals (for the big show on the 5, 6 and 7 September), birthdays and various others bits and pieces to keep me occupied.

There has been knitting.

I finished a cowl and Le Slouch beret from the American Beauty Malabrigo I received in a de-stash.

The Gorgeous Francis is finished Рin Crystal Palace Cr̬me (a lovely wool silk blend).

I have increased my sock stash (because I have SOOOOOO much time on my hands – LOL!

I have worked. I love the work so far. I love planning stories and organising to interview people and then thinking about the best questions to ask them and sniffing around for things which might be interesting and trying to come up with more ideas to start the whole process again.

My boss is great – and also a knitter!

In addition to the madness that life has become (and which will soon, I am sure, fall into a routine), I spend most of any time at home fighting with Destructoboy over the computer. We gave him some really good educational games for his birthday, and he adores the Noggin site, and I can hardly get at the keyboard.

I also rather rashly, and in a spirit of optimism but expectation of disappointment, threw my hat into the ring of insanity which was the Wollmeise Sock Club lottery. And I got in!!!!

This means that unannounced parcels of Wollmeise will appear for me at regularish intervals. It also means that my credit card went into cardiac arrest - but hey!, that's how it is sometimes!

This is not stash because:

1. Wollmeise is too beautiful to be stash;
2. Sock yarn does not count as stash;
3. International yarn never counts as stash;
4. By the time the second one arrives, you've forgotten how much it cost, so it transmutes into a gift - and gifts are never stash

Have I forgotten any rationalisations, Zeph?

So hopefully, normal transmission will resume as soon as possible. Until then, blogging may be a once a week activity!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

The Exciting News

Hurrah for knitters and crocheters (although the Political party is called Fibertarians and headed by Dolores the Sheep, I believe!)!

And a special thank you to Alwen - who remembered that it was Riga in Latvia (not Iceland) who did the mitten thing - and I should have known that, having read Folk Mittens!

Just a short post today (I know - and it's been such a long time since I did any photos - but I've been really slack about taking pictures of new stash - whoops - and FOs - of which I have a few - forgive me and I will rectify this soon). There has been a little accumulation of stash, from a number of enablers, and some books and some clothes - I've been too ashamed to blog it all, especially when Taph is doing such a great job with her de-cluttering. I'm also about to deal the the second birthday in just over 2 weeks! Aaargh!

So, just to let you in on the news......

I'm about to go back to work - a little earlier than I had planned, but when a fabulous opportunity opens up, it seems rather churlish to ask it to come back in 12 months. I'm a going to be (drum roll, please Maestro) a journalist!!

In training at first, of course, because I have lots to learn. I will be working for our local weekly paper and occasionally for the local daily and I am beside myself with excitement - and also as happy as a clam! Being paid to write and talk to people and think of ideas! How wonderful!

And strangely (or possibly not so strangely), this blog has played its part. The people who matter (PWM) read the blog and liked its style.

So next Friday I scurry out the door with a packed lunch and tidy clothes for my first day at work. I will update you with the trials of Tinkingbell the cub reporter (in general terms only, of course), but first I need to deal with Destructoboy's fourth birthday.

See you in a bit!

Monday, August 4, 2008

If we ran the world......

If knitters ran the world it would be an entirely different place.

I’ve been thinking about this recently. As I am a current affairs junkie, I seem to be up to pussy’s bow with doom and destruction. Bombings, stampedes, dictatorships, the four horsemen of the apocalypse – it’s all go here on Planet Earth.

And then I thought, ‘What if knitters (and crocheters) ran the world? What would it be like?’

Well, let’s see. No-one would be cold. That’s a given. Children, babies and adults – warm and woolly. Have you seen the amount of knitted articles given to charities? – hats for the homeless, for prem babies, jumpers for Mongolia, for Afghanistan, for everywhere you can think of. Multiply this into a national goal and put some funding behind it!

Children would learn to knit in school. This happens in Steiner schools, so why not every other school. It is considered to develop manual dexterity, creativity, colour sense, mathematical skills and it makes a nice line in potholders for Mothers’ Day.

The national sheep flock would not be dwindling – and there would never have been a wool stockpile.

We would have wonderful foreign relations with fibre producing countries. Mongolia (cashmere), Alaska and Canada (quiviut – arctic musk ox fibre), Tibet (pashmina – but only sustainably), Egypt and the Middle East (camel), the continental USA (buffalo – and let’s face it, the whole of North America has fabulous spinners and dyers), India and Nepal (silk), Thailand (banana fibre), New Zealand (possum), the United Kingdom (rare sheep breeds), Germany (Wollmeise), Russia and the states of the former Soviet Union (Orenburg lace), Scandinavia (colourwork) and so on.

The meetings of ASEAN and the G8 would look a lot less silly if world leaders were clad in knitting and crocheting – in fact, do you remember the major conference in which every leader received a traditional pair of mittens (I’m thinking Reykjavik – but am more than willing to be corrected). What a fabulous gesture that was.

As well, a side effect would be a lifting of both the profile of, and respect for, ‘womanly’ arts. Instead of being categorised as ‘weird hobby’, the skills and challenges may be more widely appreciated!

On the domestic trench war – sorry – home news front, Saturday was the Princess’s sixth birthday. 20 children were here, luckily the weather was good and I, very sensibly, hired a magician who also did balloon sculptures. He kept the kids (and some parents) brilliantly entertained until food time, and then it was home time. The Princess was beside herself with excitement, amplified when her Aunt (my SIL) and partner appeared – a lovely surprise, flown in from the National Capital. I didn’t drink nearly as much wine as such an occasion normally warrants, so it was considered a success all round!

My circumstances may also be changing soon, in a very exciting way – watch this space! Off to do domestic things – like check when the P & F meeting is and try to remember to order more gas! Ciao!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Baby, it's cold outside!

Thanks for all the nice comments on the house. We do love it, but it is really hard to heat (which is why I have the shivers and frozen fingers) and multicoloured carpet is just wonderful for hiding crumbs and general dust.

I am not the greatest of housekeepers, and would prefer to knit, blog or do almost anything than actually vacuum, so this is good!

Although it is an utterly beautiful day, it is freezing - frost still hasn't melted in the shaded areas, there is a LOT of snow on the mountains, and the estuary is as still as a mirror - brrrr!

Yesterday afternoon was spent in the 'green gym', as Taph calls it - we mowed the lawns for the first time in ages, so there was lots of raking and barrowing around cut grass and fallen leaves, This was all 'helped' by the children!

I'm still waiting to see everyone's homes or at least the places they love! - Zephyrama posted hers and told the wonderful story of her house - including its ghost!!

We don't have a ghost - we thought we did when we first moved in - we'd hear sort of chirpy noises in the quiet of the night and couldn't track down the cause - it sounded a bit like someone walking on a squeaky floorboard. Had us baffled for months.

We kept hearing it, and finally, when we were having a second phoneline installed the Telstra guy heard it too.

"There's our ghost", I said.

"That's not a ghost", he replied. 'The batteries in your smoke detector need replacing - that's the noise it makes to remind you!"

How prosaic! I much preferred the ghost!

Monday, July 21, 2008

I'll Tell You Why I Live Where I Live

I love memes. So because I love them, I thought, for once, I’d actually start one!

I’m going to tell you why I live where I live. I’m going to show you a photo. And I’m going to tag seven people to explain why they live where THEY live and post a photo of their house (and garden) – or flat, or yurt, or caravan or whatever!

I’m interested in what takes us to certain places – what makes us want to live there – what makes our hearts sing about them and what they would miss if they were somewhere else.

I know, sometimes you don’t love where you live. Sometimes you’re there when you don’t want to be. But something keeps you there. What is it?

If you really hate your living place – how about posting about a place that does make your heart sing and your eyes light up and the photo album come out.

This is my house.

I love it! Having moved from Tasmania to Sydney when I was 4, I grew up on the North West coast – out in the country. Everyone knew everyone else and everyone knew each other’s business. Being Tasmania, many people were related. As a child, I adored it – I wandered far and wide, through the bush accompanied by our family Lab and, later, riding my horse.

As I became a teenager, I couldn’t wait to leave. The city was exotic and romantic, there was so much more happening – music, art theatre, bands, clubs – everything! At 18, I left and went to university in Hobart.

Then followed a succession of student houses shared with others and all the usual detritus of city living. I bought a house and lived in an inner city suburb – then got a dream job in another city – so I moved to Launceston – and back into shared houses! Launceston was fun – more fun than Hobart in some ways and I still lived in the inner city. I met the Accountant and off we went to Hong Kong.

There we lived on the 12th floor of an apartment block in mid-levels, in a 600 square foot flat. Hong Kong was lots of fun and we made some great friends and lived the expat life. Then we travelled and ended up in Queensland. Eight years of heat and humidity, no proper seasons (just hot and wet, cooler, jacaranda and mango). I pined for Tasmania, for four proper seasons and for proper spuds (sold by name!) and apples and berries and winter and port and fires and dry summers. My father had a stroke and that decided it.

We would move back to Tasmania, and get to spend some time with our families. In Queensland we had been burgled and I no longer felt safe there. We decided we would try and find a lovely old house. Every trip down we’d look at houses. There was no real estate boom then. That came later. People would move to the west coast of Tassie and have to return part of the Federal Government’s $7,000 grant – because the house they bought cost less than that!

We looked and looked and found this house. It was equidistant between both our families. It was near the ferry and the airport. It was just outside a beautiful little town. It had 7 acres and beautiful gardens (they are no longer quite so beautiful). We could afford it. I had seen it and the Accountant had not – photos only! We bought it and I had nightmares for weeks (what it he hated it? We’d be stuck in a house he hated!). Luckily he loved it.

We all love it. It’s cold in winter and hard to heat. But it’s a lovely happy house and it’s ours!

OK. Now for tags. Zephyrama, Bells, Taphophile, Madmad, 2Paw, Rosered, Knightly Knitter, Tell me why you live where you live – flash a photo and tell me what you love about it!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

To Stash, or not to Stash, That is the Question!

Thanks so much for your supportive comments re my auxiliary ‘Yarn collection’, Based on that experience, I had to lie down with a Bex and a nice cup of tea (or as someone suggested, breathing deeply with my head between my knees)!

I was then inspired to investigate the two other – umm – ‘yarn marshalling areas’ - to see what was happening there, and the results have made me hesitant to post for some time – but here we go!

Linen Cupboard (Primary yarn area)

I have 24 jumpers worth,
plus a lace stash,
4 duvet bags (those clear square plastic bags which zip open that you get when you buy doonas or blankets) – 1 is manufactured sock yarn (Patonyle, Arwetta, Opal, Heirloom, etc etc, some handpaints and baby wool- generally a four ply collection). Some of this has overflowed to fill a 25 litre tub in the auxiliary stash. 1 is Bulky yarn; 1 is assorted 8 ply and one is luxe yarn – silks, alpaca, yumminess for special projects.
There are also 2 large plastic tubs – 1 x 55litres and 1x35 litres holding the jumper stuff,
several bags of cotton,
2 large bags of worsted weight skeins for felting projects,
3 shopping bags of novelty yarn and some other bits and pieces.
All this covers around 2 cubic metres!

Downstairs (Ancilliary yarn area, primarily devoted to sock yarn)

Here’s where I really had to put my head between my knees.
8 jumpers worth ready to go. – In project bags with patterns – all set to cast on!
98 pairs of socks worth of artisanal yarn. There’s a lot more than 98 skeins – because much of the yarn comes as 2 skeins for a pair of socks. Of course, some is effectively 2 pairs of socks per skein (Wollmeise etc) around 30 pairs worth is forming it’s own sock club – bagged up with an appropriate pattern – one which ‘spoke’ to me and I have matched up – some is real sock club – from either Red Bird or the Rockin’ Sock Club.
Some felting stuff, some cotton, some bits and piece.
My extensive downloaded pattern collection, books, magazines, pattern books and journals.

If I knit 10 jumpers a year, 10 pairs of socks a year and assorted single skein projects I have enough yarn for 9 years of jumpers, and around 15 years of socks.

Given that I am 46, is this going to be enough? Will this see me through to retirement?

I don’t think so. So now, I’m worried. I need to get some more plastic bins and get serious about acquiring a stash. I need to really start acquiring some yarn – because there are a lot of knitting years ahead of me and I’m not sure I have a large enough yarn collection to last me till I’m 80 or so.

So over the next 10 years, I’ll be talking to stash advisers, investing in yarn, sheep and alpacas. I’ll reclaim my mother’s spinning wheel and talk to Mandie about fibre. This stuff is my superannuation – and I need to get busy!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Ooooooh, It's Magic!

Aha – I have discovered magic loop – but by complete accident!! I’ve always been a bit scared of magic loop – I knew how it worked (in theory at least) but I’ve never tried it. To tell the truth it always seemed a bit – well – messy, really. As I understood it, there was a fair amount of pushing and sliding and fiddling about – give me DPNs any day!

But the other day I was attempting to knit a small tube on 2 circs (also something I’ve never tried before) and suddenly I realised that one of the circs was flapping helplessly, only held in place by a single wrap of yarn twisted around it while I – I was knitting round and around on one needle with a bit of it held either side of the working stitches and half the working stitches on each side of the loop – and you know what? It was easy! It wasn’t scary at all!!

And yes, there is some fiddling. And yes, there is some pulling and settling of stitches. And yes, I may not be doing it by the book (which I own but have never *blush* read), But it looked close as dammit to my understanding of magic loop – on an old style 80cm circ with the fairly inflexible cord but a smooth join! So I’m sailing on with my swap knitting, on magic loop. It’s much easier than knitting with 2 circs!

On a different note, some people have suggested that perhaps I have a, ahem, “little problem” with yarn. Well, you have to rely on your friends to tell you the truth! I just decided to organise the ancillary stash. This is the stash which lives in 6 plastic 55litre tubs in the junk room. This is not the stash which has taken over the walk in linen cupboard (making it un-walk-in-able). Nor is it the stash which lives in project bags, ready to go, in the back porch area. It is not even the stash which dwells in the downstairs cupboard (which is mainly – but not exclusively – sock yarn. To my certain knowledge there are - umm - around 4 jumpers worth of other yarns down there).

No, the ancillary stash is the more recently acquired, out-of-Accountant’s-sight stash. This is the stash which won’t fit where the other stashes live. This is also the stash which I hope the Accountant won’t necessarily notice as he virtually never goes into the junk room. (Mind you, I hoped that about the linen cupboard – it is not an area he is wont to frequent – unfortunately he had to make an emergency visit during the great gastric upset last winter – so he finally noticed what had been hiding in there. There’s much more these days).

So, I thought I could organise the tubs by yarn weight. That way, if I was suddenly struck by a bout of startitis, I could just grab the next favourite pattern and head for the appropriate tub.

I emptied out all the tubs, gasped at the amount of yarn, sorted it into piles (4ply, 8 ply/DK, Aran/Worsted, bulky, bits) and decided to count jumpers worth as I packed it up. This is adult jumpers, so we’re dealing with between 600 and 1600 grammes – or between around 1100 – 2000 (or in one case 2400) metres per lot.

I have enough yarn in the overflow stash for 47 adult jumpers.

I’ll just repeat that – 47 jumpers.

Now, I know that I also own around 8 or 9 jumpers worth (or jackets or cardigans – large items of clothing) which lives downstairs and is ready for me to cast on.

I also know that at least 25 jumper’s worth lives upatairs.

In addition, I have well over 100 skeins of sock yarn, patiently waiting for my attention.

In and around this, there are odd balls and skeins, in varying weights and sizes, bits and pieces, and a sizeable stash of lace weight.

So over the next few weeks, I am going to make a real effort to organise the stash. As I organise it, I am likely to find a proportion of yarn I have fallen out of love with. I am hoping to de-stash this yarn. Some will go to charity. Some will be presents. Some will be set aside for consideration. Some will be seeking new homes.

I don’t necessarily want less. I just want yarn I love.

NB – Quick note to Zephyrama. I entirely understand that by the Rules of Stash, I actually have only a little Bendigo wool, which was not purchased on sale, residing in my stash. I have referred to my – yarn collection – as stash, only for the purposes of illustration, not to suggest in any way, shape or form, that it is possible not only to have ‘stash’ – but ever to have ‘too much stash’. Thank you.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Deja Vu Strikes Again!

Welcome to Plague Central!

We have been badly affected by various lurgies and winter germ fests here – so my apologies for not posting the competition results for my blogiversary sooner. But you’ll still have to wait just a bit for the results!

I notice that my very first blogpost dealt with the joys of parenting, specifically the joys of dealing with – umm – gastric upsets - through the long cold watches of the night. To date, we have been spared this (except while on holiday in Fiji), and instead have varied our viruses this year by adding strep throat (me), colds (the Accountant), cold and grumpiness (the Princess) and our very first ear infection (Destructoboy). After 2 sleepless nights engendered by a throat apparently filled with shards of glass, I almost had some sleep, only to be woken by screams from the boy's room at 2am. This meant being up and moving from then on and getting him in to the doctors surgery as a sobbing, tired and crumpled mess (and that was just me) at 9am.

Luckily, our local health centre has a system on Saturday of ‘first come, first served’. Which meant we were second cab off the rank. Both the boy and I are much better now thank you, we are being very good about taking our antibiotics, especially as we both get jelly beans afterwards.

In the knitting stakes 2 baby parcels have been posted and the knitting in them was actually finished.

The first went to our friends who had their first child nearly 3 weeks ago – a little boy.

The second is for Georgie’s liitle girl, Grace, who was obviously drawn out by the yarn fumes generated by stash enhancement at Wollmeise while her mother was in labour. You have to be a really dedicated yarnie to be trying to buy hard-to-get yarn while in labour – my hat’s off to you, Georgie – I understand that QuiltingMick also helped a bit.

Now I’m just knitting WIPs and for the Cover Youself swap.

OK. Back to the competition.

And the winners are (from a random draw involving small bits of paper with everyone’s name on and a bucket – because I am far too technically inept to manage a random number generator – and besides – that way the spammer might have won!):

Drumroll please:

Bells and Geek Knitter.

Bells, I have your address; Geek Knitter – I will email you for yours – prizes will be sent when I get organised! (Soonish)

Thank you all for leaving a comment - see - all these sci fi and fantasy fans out there who knit and crochet and cook and read my blog - it makes me happy that I have met you in the last year and enjoyed your company - long may it continue!

Hurrah – all done until I next feel the urge for a competition! Hope to give you knitting updates soon – the Gathered Sweater is having its sleeves knitted, and when I can manage to count to 14 again, I’ll do some more on Juliet!

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Why are people so cruel...?

Well thank you all for prompting some memories!!

How could I have forgotten Blake’s 7 or Red Dwarf? Or Space 1999, or Lost in Space or any one of the others you've reminded me of? One of my earliest memories is watching Doctor Who (the very first Doctor) while recovering from a mump and measles in 1964! (That memory and the one of waiting for the blue balloon I had swallowed to *ahem* reappear are my very earliest).

On the knitting front, stuff has been happening – friends of ours had a baby 2 weeks early and I’ve knitted a top down seamless baby Kimono for him and a certain Canberra Blogger had her bump early on Saturday morning and I have something on the needles for her – will post photos after blocking!

I am always convinced that I have heaps of time (especially for baby knitting) and that it will actually take me no time at all to knit baby stuff (knitting fairies, anyone?).

This is, of course, always wrong. This attitude of mine will explain why the recipients of these baby gifts will get them in the next week or so. Mind you, having a baby 2 weeks early is just inconsiderate, because I really thought I had heaps of time, and I’m sure baby stuff takes no time to knit…..

I must learn to spin. I must learn to spin because I won Mandie’s ‘What’s Ewe Name?’ competition and she sent me gorgeous fibre as the prize. She also sent me some fabulous sock yarn which she had custom milled and has not yet dyed all of. Immediately harass her, because the stuff she sent me was absolutely gorgeous and was indescribably beautiful colours. Here is my loot!

In addition, I had a brain explosion and bought some Wollmeise from a lady who was de-stashing Until I received this skein I thought it was completely mythical- like dragons and people who can knit lace without looking at it. It is real and lovely!

I also suffered some sort of breakdown and bought more Malabrigo – just in case sheep go bald – or it takes them months to build up stock after their fire.

And then my LYS had a 40% off everything sale!

I have no defences against this type of cruelty. How can I resist!

Remember – keep those comments coming- you’ve got three days until my blogiversary deadline. There will be prizes!

Oh – and I think Firefly and Serenity were wonderful, and Angel and Buffy kick ass!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

The Alien Weirdness of Kniters (Yay!)

Almost from the very beginning of reading knitblogs I have been amazed at the number of knitters fascinated with science fiction and fantasy. During my childhood, adolescence and rather loooooong maturation, I found it almost impossible to find fellow SFF fans and readers.

I was indoctrinated by my mother into SF at a very early age – in fact, I spent 3 years absolutely terrified of the dark after reading Andre Norton’s Starman’s Son (also published as ‘Daybreak-2250AD) when I was 7. (Don’t judge me until you have read it yourself – the scene where the man is tortured with a rat – and then.. – Brrrr!)

Throughout my teenage years there were no real sci-fi people about. I was considered deeply weird at the rural schools I attended – not only did I read (strange!) but I READ SCIENCE FICTION (geek city!)

Mum and I watched ‘The Champions’, ‘Star Trek’ (the original series), ‘The Guardians (about a dystopian Britain with an exiled royal family, run by its security forces), ‘Out of the Unknown (a very scary British answer to the Twilight Zone – which we also watched), and any other sci fi, alternative history, slightly off beat television series we could find.

We went to any Sci Fi movies which came (briefly) to our local cinema. I still remember going to see ‘Star Wars’ with her when it first came out (not long before her death).

I have never given up my addiction to SFF. I was a regular mail order customer for Galaxy Books for many years, spending chunks of my salary (well, the bits not earmarked for wine and cigarettes) on feeding my vice. But rarely did I meet another person who revelled in my personal favourite genres. I had to make a massive effort to force my husband into reading my library – which he now happily does.

Fast forward to 2 years ago, when I discovered knitblogs. The weird paradox of people engaged in an ancient craft revelling in alternate futures, fantasy worlds, paranormal adventures and weird aliens confronted me. It also made me very, very happy.

Not only did you knit, but you knitted and read and watched the same things I did! (Many of you are also Jane Austen Fans – and that makes me even happier!! In fact, someone mentioned Georgette Heyer recently in their blog – and that REALLY made my day.)

I still primarily read SF – though more slowly now my reading time is curtailed by mothering and domestic duties. I love to watch SF – though I am disappointed the Sci-Fi channels seems to only screen Star Trek and Stargate and their spinoffs.

So as my first Blogiversary approaches, leave a comment to tell me your favourite science fiction or fanatasy (all paranormal subjects included) book, film, and/or TV series (now or in the past). Please, Lurkers, come forward and drop me a line. All commenters between now and midnight on 3 July –Australian Eastern Standard Time (the day after my blogiversary) will get an entry into a random draw. There will be prizes. And I will finally get to meet yet more people who share my addictions!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

A Room with a View

Very quick update.

There’s been knitting happening. But the Gathered Pullover’s body is almost finished and a bit’s been added to Juliet. Some knitting has also happened for the Ravelry Swap – but no teasers in case the recipient reads this blog!

Some sewing has also been happening. I’ve finished some curtains which were started last winter and made some baby things (no spoilers for that either as I know 1 recipient to be is a reader). But it’s the first time the sewing machine has been out for a while.

This is the view from my window. Very wintry.

But here are the first of the (rather early) spring flowers.

And here is my camellia bush – or rather – my camellia tree – I have 2 of these and this is the larger. It has bright pink blooms (which you can’t see. And yes, that is our first floor verandah in the photo – and just remember, we have 14 foot ceilings! It is a VERY big camellia.

This is the other reason I haven’t been blogging or knitting much – these two rather fill up my days!

I will try to be more informative over the next few weeks once the immediate knitting and sewing pressure is off!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Honey, I'm Ho-ome!

Well, the washing is done, the kidlets are back at school and childcare, some of the catching up with your blogs is done, and life is returning to normal after the holiday.

It was a lovely holiday. I nearly finished the Dublin Bay Socks while we were away (did the toe decreases on sock 2 last night) and did half of 1 Francie.

I have discovered some important truths about holiday knitting.

You CAN knit when:
1. You are in a hammock;
2. Drinking cocktails (but don’t attempt lace after the second one);
3. Riding in a high speed ferry in rough weather;
4. Sitting by the pool;
5. Sitting on the verandah;
6. Waiting on the beach for the family to wake up in the morning.

You CANNOT knit when:
1. You are snorkelling;
2. You are eating dinner with your husband by candlelight under the stars (well, maybe I could have, but it just didn’t seem the right time somehow);
3. You are waiting at the bottom of the waterslide to catch children;
4. You are in the pool with children;
5. You are learning to dive;
6. You are clutching the sides of a speed boat;
7. You are cleaning up vomit;
8. You are vomiting;
9. You are making sand castles;
10. You are kayaking in choppy seas;
11. You are trying to climb onto a slippery pontoon because you have just discovered you are snorkelling alone with a largish shark and your powers of levitation have failed;
12. You are sitting on a pontoon a LOOOOONG way from shore trying to work out how to get into a kayak without falling into the water you have just got out of because you discovered you were sharing it with a 2 metre shark. (Granted, the shark didn’t seem that interested, but we’d like to keep it that way, wouldn’t we?)

We had fun. No-one got sunburnt, the children are totally waterlogged – every day meant time in the water until wrinkled and prune-like. Fiji is a great place to go with children – it’s pretty close so the flight is short, kids love it, the locals love kids, it’s really relaxed and the food is good.

Additionally, when we arrived home there were some parcels waiting for me.

The incomparable Donyale had returned some yarn which I had sent her for dyeing, but included a Berocco pattern booklet I was lusting after and some Knitpicks cables. You are a wonderful woman - and will be rewarded! She dyed the yak and wool sock yarn with her 'Wicked Witch' colourway.

My second order from The Loopy Ewe had arrived

My rash order from WEBS sale arrived in a big box (2 jumpers worth of Cascade 220 – a dark grey and an aqua and a jumpers worth of Gedifra cotton merino in bright red) .

And Yarn 10 – with my article in it.

A lovely holiday – but it’s very nice to be home!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

We're all goin' on a Winter Holiday, No more working for a week or two!

Well, we are off on holiday tomorrow. This means I am
A) wearing my most disreputable bra
B) the dreadful pants
C) the top I don’t like
D) jeans which are almost (but not quite) ready for the recycling bag

This is standard pre-holiday clothing in my house. What about yours?

For the next or so weeks I will be reclining on a tropical island, sipping banana daiquiris and …What? Oh yes, the children will be there too…

OK – I will be on a tropical island, hot and flustered, hoping the children are moderately good and don’t drown themselves. Happy now?

Of course it’s a holiday. This means I won’t be cooking or washing up for 2 whole weeks – that’s my kind of holiday.

Just to hold you, here are some pretty piccies. First up, the Tidal Wave Sock in Vesper. Aren’t they purty? They look like Raspberry, Mango and Pistachio Gelato – good enough to eat.

Here is a package from the Loopy Ewe. My first ever. Service great – crack er, umm, YARN wonderful. This package has Hand Maiden Seasilk in Renaissance, Numma Numma Baby Boo in Spinach and Brown Rice, Spritely Goods in Mallow and Shibui in Autumn. The bright amongst you (all of you) will have noticed there is only one skein of the Shibui. This is because I become so overcome that I forgot you needed two for a pair of socks. Duh!

This has meant I had to do another order. Bad Knitter! Bad Bad Knitter!!

And finally, a present from the wonderful Madmad – a SIGNED COPY OF THE YARN HARLOT’S NEW BOOK – for me! Thank you!

Oh – and my Rockin’ Sock Club parcel arrived too – Shrinking Violet, for Cleopatra’s Stockings. Mmmm!

So for the next 2 weeks, I’m not dead, just on holiday. I’ll spend 3 weeks after I get back catching up with you all!