Sunday, May 24, 2009

It's all about the knitting, folks!

Despite my best resolution, life (and knitting) intervened.

I did think about popping in a post last week which said `Can't blog - knitting.', but decided I needed to knit more than I needed to blog. Here is the result of my labour:


The Placed Cable Aran, from Interweave knits, in 10 ply Luxury from Bendigo Woollen Mills, in the Leaf colourway. This should also qualify me for Lynne's Textured KAL.

This absolutely flew off the needles, and set a new record by being finished in 11 days. I can't believe I actually knitted a jumper in 11 days, but here's the proof. Cast on May 13, cast off May 24. The only mods I made were too make it slightly longer (could have been even longer) and to convert the sleeves, so I picked up stitches and knitted them from the top down to eliminate seaming - Oh and I knitted the body in the round to the armholes, so the only seams are at the shoulders. Took 3.25 balls of Bendi, so a bit over 1000m.

I am thrilled with it, love the pattern, the yarn, the colour and the finished product.

I also thought, although it isn't the end of the month, I'd get stash honesty out of the way. We're off on holiday on Wednesday and I don't anticipate any arrivals of squooshy parcels between now and then, so we might as well do it now.

8 balls of Tango and 5 balls of Superior (both of which I blame Rosered for): 525gr
5 balls of Bendi Luxury (see above FO): 1 kg
6 skeins of River: 600gr
2 skeins of BFL 2/8: 500gr

Total In: 2.625kg

650gr Luxury (placed cable)
600gr Allegro (gathered sweater)
100gr socks
150gr Jet (Princess's jacket from Zeph)

Total knitted:
1.5 kg

In other words, almost twice as much has come in as was knitted - despite a knitting frenzy. Sigh.

June should be better, mainly because I won't be in a position to buy any yarn, so although some sock club yarn (ahem) may arrive in my post office box, I should also be able to be about square, knitting wise.

In other news, the birdie appears to have settled in with the resident population of Little Wattle Birds, the schools holidays are much too long (this is the first day - they are tooooooo long!) and life rolls along.

We are still warm and although somewhat damp here, have been spared the utter downpours of Queensland and Northern NSW. However, with our usual perfect timing, we are about to holiday in the epicentre of this weeks floods. What fun!

If I don't get back here before we leave, have a love fortnight or so, and I'll see you in mid June!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Birds, Beasts and Relatives (with apologies to Gerald Durrell)

The strangest thing happened yesterday.

I was in the garden, picking off the last of the apples on the tree, and a bird came up and sat on the branches quite close to me. I chatted to it, as you do, told him he was brave and so on, when he flew on to my shoulder.

Now this didn't quite freak me out - I am an animal person, I can deal with most things, but a wild bird? Landing on my shoulder? Last I knew, I was not Snow White or Cinderella or one of the Disney cartoon princesses who regularly go into forests and have assorted livestock land on their heads.

This guy was a juvenile Little Wattle Bird (about 12 inches or 30cm long), and has a long beak. I would say he was a teenager - a young adult with some of his juvenile plumage still. He landed on my window sill a few days ago and just sat there when I tapped on the window. Now he is landing on my head or shoulder and is more than happy to perch on my finger.

My children are rather amazed. Obviously Mummy has supernatural powers over animals. Here he is, letting me get very close to take his picture. When I rang a friend in the local animal rescue service, her theory was that these birds are quite easy to hand rear, but in the very high winds we have had recently, he may have been blown away from home. He's probably a bit dependant on humans, and wants to be fed.

I wouldn't mind, but now he has taken to stalking me - following me from window to window and trying to sit on me when we are outside. Weird.

If you have lost a Little Wattle Bird, please feel free to contact me.

There has been knitting happening.

Here it the finished Gathered Pullover 2, in Bendi Allegro in Scarlet. I really like the feel of the fabric this makes. It was just a bit splitty to knit with, which I had expected, but is lovely. Great stitch definition. I made the neck higher and the shoulders wider. It took a while because it was the carry along mindless stoicking stitch for ages. Strangely, when I fnally paid some attention to it, it was finished very quickly.

I also finished the 2 parts Zephyrama, 1 part Tink jacket for the Princess. Zeph had sent me the mostly finished child's One Piece Ribby Jacket, in Jet, along with the extra to finish it off, due to the fact she had started it for her daughter and said daughter had grown out of it before it was finished. I think it will fit the Princess for a while. She likes it. The buttons are clear, with pink and black butterflies. She chose them.

Just because you need some proof of knitting, here is Ms Rosered, ensconced in our very messy family room, helping the Princess with her knitting. You might recognise the Pearl Buck Jacket.

Of course, much of this weekend has been taken up with the festival of bad taste and excreable music which is Eurovision. While Norway was both cute and a reasonable song, my favourites were Moldova (great boots and costume, funked up folk song and folk dancing), Portugal (once again, the folk song and costume), the Ukraine (those boots, those Trojans!), Turkey (yay, Dum Tek Tek), Estonia (gorgeous singer and song, Arwen with a fringe), Bosnia Herzegovina (who doesn't love some nice performance art?) and Armenia (great costumes).

Greece was rather up himself, the Azerbaijan entry was tediously ordinary, Iceland sounded like Celine Dion and most of the others were forgettable. The hosts were hysterical. While Barbie was cute, her co-host was a sleaze who kept peering down her dress and squeezing her. I kept thinking of the Fast Forward comedy duo, doing the Russian TV presenters "Viktor, you are very unattractive man''. If you missed out, you can watch it here.

I will try to be a better blogger, at least until we go on holiday. The stretch of glorious late autumn weather continues, with cold nights and lovely days - but winter is breathing down our necks, rather like the Russian Eurovision host.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Is it May yet?

Oh dear.

Over a week since I blogged, and such a lot has happened.

First (and most importantly) a visit from the lovely Rosered! She escorted her mother to Tasmania, but slipped the leash for a couple of days and came to visit. So lovely to finally have a face to put with the shoes!

We knitted and drank coffee and champagne and ate some nice things - and she brought me a lovely darning mushroom! It was a lovely visit. I dragged her along to circus school, and pointed her towards the LYS and the nice shoe shop - and strangely, she came back with yarn and shoes, having found a hitherto unmined source of Grinasco Tango. And a pair of orange shoes. How unlike her!

This of course, meant I also had to do a quick dash to the LYS too, and grab some of the Tango, and somehow 5 balls of Superior (70 cashmere, 30 silk laceweight) slipped into the bag with the Tango. It probably wanted company.

It was a wonderful visit, and so lovely to meet her. I hope she comes back to visit again soon!

Friday was Agfest day. In keeping with tradition (well we did it last year and twice in a row must make it a tradition) a girlfriend and I consigned our respective children to the tender care of their fathers and did a dash to the delights of Agfest.

An utterly wonderful day, so sunny and hot we were out and about in t-shirts (the last gasp of the Indian Summer). There was a lot more fleecy and fibre-y stuff than last year - mainly alpaca, but a wool shop from Moonah (who also sell Ashford gear and knitpicks needles) had a stall. Overall I was very good and only bought 1 ball of alpaca - hand dyed, 2 little bags of tops and one ball of silk garden sock. Some plants, bulbs, soap and lovely hand cream etc came home with me though.

Which brings me to stash honesty. These purchases, having been made in May, do not count in April's total (heaves sigh of relief).

In: 800 grams

Knitted: (wait for it!) 100 gr - Black Rose socks
700gr - raglan cardi
100 gr - fish hat
100gr - Lighthouse gansey socks

Total - 1kg knitted - so I finally managed to knit more than came in! At last!

On a much sadder note, thank you so much for all your lovely thoughts on my poor little Hobson. And thank you for sharing your cat stories, too. It is awful to lose a fur friend, and I miss him dreadfully. Thank you.

And a big Happy Mother's Day, and to those who aren't yet, but will be - Happy Day to us all!

Friday, May 1, 2009

Vale, Hobson.

This is just a very short post.

For the first time in more years than I care to remember, I have no animals.

Last night, my cat, Hobson, didn't come home. As the weather cools down, Hobson is always keen to be inside.

I acquired Hobson as a semi-feral teenage cat from our local RSPCA. Our cat, George, had been hit by a car, and our other cat and dog missed him. Hobson came into our lives. He loved the other cat, adored the elderly Labrador and loved me.

For many years, he'd have nothing to do with the Accountant, and generally gave the kids a wide berth. One of my friends, when seeing Hobson streak past her said, ``That's not a cat. It's a wabbit!''

Hobson seemed to be scared of most people, but was a mighty hunter of rabbits, rats and mice - and I'm ashamed to say, occasionally, birds.

He kept his white bits very white, and I loved him and he was hit by a car last night. I found him when I returned from the gym this morning out the front of our house.

We have buried him, and in keeping with our traditions, will plant a fruit tree over his grave (actually 2 - because I think he will look after the kiwi fruit vines for us, and you need a male and a female).

Goodbye Hobson. You have been my cat for over nine years. You were always as light as a feather. We joked that you had bird bones. But this morning you felt very very heavy.