Wednesday, December 27, 2006

My Fortune Cookie told me:
Better start drinking now.
Get a cookie from Miss Fortune

Meme time!

Ok, so I've seen this meme around and unlike many of them I have always enjoyed reading this one. It is what every meme should be - informative, containing room for creativity and personal quirks and, most of all, short.

So here's my version

4 jobs I've had
1. Cleaner
2. Teaching English as a Foreign Language
3. Nightfiller in a supermarket
4. Kitchen Hand

4 movies I could watch over and over
1. Calamity jane
2. Toy Story (1 and 2)
3. The First Wives Club
4. Serenity

4 places I have lived (apart from where I am now)
1. Guiyang, China
2. Sichuan, china
3. Adelaide
4. Nope, that's it

4 TV shows I love
1. Firefly
2. The West Wing
3. Kath & Kim (although i often have to walk away from the TV)
4. Spicks and Specks

4 places I have been for a vacation
1. The Glenelg River
2. The Murray River
3. Falls Creek
4. Yunan

4 websites I visit daily - sorry nothing very exciting.
1. Bloglines
2. Google
3. Gmail
4. Podcast Alley (not really, but I've run out)

4 favourite foods
1. Chocolate - can you say predictable? Well, i love it.
2. YuXiangRouSi. this was my favourite dish in China and I miss it so much I've been known to have dreams about it.
3. Mangoes and peaches
4. Pasta

4 places I would rather be
1. In bed
2. Visiting my Best Friend in China - but only temporarily.
3. In my own (imaginary) house. Someday - someday soon, here's hoping
4. Somewhere quiet. Preferably an exotic beach or something, but I'd settle for a quiet parking lot at this particular moment.

4 people I am tagging

No one. If you like it, do as I did and just rip it off without being tagged. I am such a blogging rebel!

Friday, December 22, 2006

A very merry un-birthday...

Well, that's over for another year, anyway.

I had a bunch to say, mostly about how it's raining (we had a thunderstorm last night. Very unseasonable) and some meta-thoughts about blogging and podcasts, but I'm feeling a bit blah. So, in honour of jac having visited my blog and to cheer myself up in the traditional Aussie way, I will commence, instead, to tell a joke about New Zealand. Don't worry, there are no sheep involved.

Q: What's a Hindu?

A: It Lays Eggs


Picture from

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Happy Birthday to meeeee....

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Blah blah blah

I am so crafty. But you knew that.

I wasn't going to give the cousins presents this year. I went a bit overboard last year when I was in China, since I needed an excuse to buy all kinds of crap, and besides, when was I going to be there again? Maybe never. But my sister went ahead and bought them stuff - at least, the cousins on my Dad's side, who we will be seeing on the actual day. And then I think she freaked cos she had no money, so I agreed to go halves with her. Which means effectively that i just bought my own present from her. Which is fine by me. But then, the crafting bug struck. I'd seen the pattern on Little birds handmade, and then there's the Flickr group with all the adorable variations. So when it turned out that I'd been sucked into the present vortex, I knew I had to make some.

I scanned some for you since I still have no camera (argh)

This was my first effort ^

You can't see it, but there's metallic embroidery on this one,> in swirls and stuff

Aren't they bootiful? The one up the top under my sister's tree sign is possibly my favourite. Although that fabric looks like hell, scanning was not the best way to show you, but it was, I am afraid, the only way. The fabric for both I found in an op shop. I got that and a whole bunch of other stuff including a plaid skirt for $10. I love that place. I plan on fixing up my plaid skirt and making a petticoat for it, blatantly ripping off Inside a Black Apple, because I love that look. I already have pirate boots - sort of.

So, this is the vogue photo scanned for
Inside a Black Apple and stolen by me.
I credited, so it's not really stealing, right?

I was saying to my cousin yesterday that since I started reading blogs obsessively I have started to develop a better sense of my own style. I mean, I always knew what I liked, but when it came to having a cohesive view of how I wanted to look/decorate, I was lacking. Now, having spent hours online admiring other people's concoctions, I am much more able to - for example - find things I like in op shops. Also, I feel more confident about doing things like wearing a plaid skirt with a petticoat, or a knitted alpaca skirt (two comments of encouragement, did you see? Now I have to do it!) Part of it is being able to see how I could alter things. If you just look at a magazine you think "well, that's nice, but it's not me." If you see it online you can think "oooh, I like that. But not in that colour. Or maybe a bit shorter. Perhaps I could add a pocket? And then I wouldn't wear it with a top like that..."

I love it. It makes me feel so smart :P

The christmas tree has been up for a while. First time it went up we decorated it, put the pressies under... and then it fell over. Since it is a real tree (no shampoo for my wig. Only real poo. Anyone else remember that?) there was water everywhere and presents needed re-wrapping. Now they are beautiful, and multiplying. There is quite a significant pile there, and oh, how I wish you could see it! They make me happy just looking at the pretty packages. I only started to get excited about opening them yesterday. Not for me, I pretty much know what I'm getting from my parents, although my sister will prolly have got me some interesting small things. But I love watching people open the things I've got them, and seeing what other people got them, too. I love that surprise even better than getting something for me, almost.

My cardigan is coming along. I have the back, and one and a half sleeves. I want it to be done so I can start the cardigan for Arwen.

Since I got some comments, I wanted to let you know that they were from Jac from Six impossible things, which I love and is funny (totally read her 100 things profile bit) and from Julie from Fricknits, which is beautiful. It's one of those little corners of the internet that is somehow peacful and nice to visit. I love bloglines, but it is not the same, somehow. Plus, her photos are always wonderful, and make reading nice. It's always just the right ratio of words:photos. Her current photo-essay is great. I wanted to say this because I've taken my links down, since they were in no way representative of the blogs I read. In a month or so I might put it back up again, because I love some of these blogs and I love clicking the links in them and finding my way around the internet. For some reason I'm much more likely to enjoy a blog if I've found it through a wierd path of links than if I've actually searched for it. I think it's that community thing people keep going on about. :)

Anyway, that's enough rambling form me, I'll let you know when my trees are sewn up, although i am in mourning for the possibility of photographing them...

BTW, did I mention it was my dad's 50th on Monday? Happy birthday! And it's my 23rd on thursday. Oh, the joys of having your birthday 4 days before christmas!

Friday, December 08, 2006

Hello. This is your subconscious speaking. We have encountered some turbulence...

OK, so I know dreaming about things we do during the day is not unusual. I used to play Halo in my sleep, during that phase where so much of my social life revolved around the Xbox. (oh, yes. I almost miss it) So when I planned a cardigan in my sleep I wasn't too worried. I wasn't worried when I knit a sock as part of another dream. When I actually dream-knit a sock - the whole sock, every stitch - I became a little worried. Little did I know, that was nothing. Last night I dreamed I was reading my blogs on bloglines. But every time I got back to my feeds, there's be one or two new knitting ones, and boing boing had ten more. I couldn't keep up! It was like those dreams where you run and run and never get anywhere. Oh, my aching head.

Sometimes I wonder about my subconscious. Then I decide I don't want to know.

Re last post, I just listened to Episode 30 of Cast-on. I swear I only just did. This 'nothing new under the sun' thing gets a little wearying.

In other news, it's an extreme fire danger day today. Yay, summer has begun. My mother has us all freaking out as usual. And she wonders why I was an anxious child. Driving home from the city while your mother worries that your house might just not be there when you get home will do that to you. Ruined the suspense genre for me forever, that did.

I walked to work the other day, up the back of our property. I hadn't given a thought to snakes until, halfway up the firebreak, a brown snake that had obviously been sunning itself slithered away in front of me. Oh. My. God. I am no longer walking that way to work. Possibly never again. Possibly I will never even walk again, or set foot outside.

My father was digging a couple of years ago, and when he brought the shovel of dirt up, there was a brown snake's head sitting neatly on it. He'd dug into the burrow on sliced it's head neatly off, thank GOD, or it would have been mad and it might have been his head.

Snakes scare me. Not all snakesa. But anyone who isn't afraid of a brown snake is either stupid, suicidal or dead.

And since this is a knitting blog, I should mention that my test ball of wool for the Arwen cardigan came along in the mail - finally. So now I can swatch away. Hoorah.

Conversation with my sister last night:
Me: Do you like this colour?
Her: It's all right.
Me: It's for the 'Cardigan for Arwen'
Her: Who's Arwen?
Me: ....?

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

It's twilight. My favourite time of day. It's early summer. My favourite time of year. The sun is just dipping over the hill, so that all the gum trees are lit up golden, and the light's all soft. The kangaroos are munching on the grass up the hill. I'm watching a blackbird sneak around the garden like he's James Bond, and the magpies have started to congregate on the strip on concrete between the house and the bush, as they like to do around a full moon. It's beautiful. I wish you could see it.

I'm feeling contemplative. Since I can't post pictures, I've been trying to write a post about something other than knitting. Also, the blogs I like best are the ones that have a nice ratio of FO's and begun projects, pictures of same, and real stories. There's stories of childbirth, miscarriage, and breastfeeding, of loss and of new life, of marriage, divorce, sickness and growth, and all the small triumphs and hardships that make up everyday life. They're why I like the internet, because real people with real stories are more interesting to me any day than some dumb celebrity with more money than they know what to do with. What's that? Brittney dumped KFed by sms? Who cares. (I only know this because Leo Laporte seems fascinated with it. These days, if it hasn't got some sort of rss feed, I don't know about it.)

Well, I couldn't write one. There's nothing really exciting happening in my life right now. Nothing I thought was blogworthy, anyhow. Sure, I've just finished a year of study, which was hard, and now I'm moving into the painful process of finding a job and a proper place to live, and starting a new phase of life. But the problem with that is that it's a period of change, and there's nothing to write about until the change has happened. But right now, I just wanted to share my mood, to let the world know that right now, right here, it's beautiful, and that I've noticed.

As an aside, I keep hearing that knitting is 'not just for grannies' and that 'young, hip people knit, too'. This is undoubtedly true. However, I realised today that my grandmother has the best fashion sense out of anyone I know, and knits and sews much cooler things than I ever will. So maybe it's not just knitting's image we need to try to update. What's wrong with grannies, I ask you? Must all grannies sit in rocking chairs with blue hair and glasses and knit only bootied and crochet only squares? Why does everyone think of this when the word 'grandmother' is mentioned? Why do I? Neither of my grandmothers is anything like this, nor is any grandmother I know. Given the amazing age we live to and are active to today, grandmothers are often still those young people who knit hip things. So what gives, people?

Did I spoil my nice contemplative mood? Oh well.

I was going to do a meme, but I need to save some things since it doesn't look like I'll have any pics for you for a while. So, here's stuff I wish I could show you:

1)the sign my sister made saying 'insert tree here' as a very subtle hint. It has a christmas gtree shape cut out of red spotty paper, & it's very cute
2) the twilight
3)the kangaroos
4)My nautilus that I must finish soon so my sister can take it in before school is done
5)The op-shop jumper that I half-felted today (mucho exciting!)
6)Where to find James Kim

(pictures c/o google images)

Monday, December 04, 2006

More words, less pictures

Just some miscellania. Sister got a rabbit. She has been begging for a rabbit for months now. We have always had rabbits. Our first we got when I was little. They were both albino, and I called them Bert and Ernie. As if to substantiate the rumours, Ernie started chasing Bert around the cage. So we went to get them desexed, and Ernie died under anesthesia. This lesson, I think, I have carried with me since ;-P Then we had the imaginatively named Blackie, who was with us for a while, keeping Bert company. When Bert died when I was in year 10, we were all very sad, and there was a rabbit lul. Then Sister got a grey long-haired bunny with gorgeous floppy ears and named it... wait for it... Flopsy. We are, like, so clever.

Well, this one is named Giacomo. After, apparently, Cassanova. I would like to explain this by stating the the whole household has a crush on David Tennant (known to all Harry Potter fans as Barty Crouch JR.), and my sister and I stayed up late one night watching the BBC mini-series of Cassanova. It was very good, and a little trippy.

This rabbit is small. It is black. The underside of its paws are white, it has a white blaze on its forehead, and it has an itty bitty white nose. It's j'adorable. And it's sitting huddled in the corner of its hutch FREAKING OUT. Okay, so rabbits aren't known for their bravery. But this poor thing just looks like it doesn't know what to do. Very sad. I'm sure it'll settle down soon to its base level of terror and it'll be fine.

In other news, I have to decide today what to do with the two jumpers I got from the op shop. I'm thinking I might thrift the yarn from one, and felt the other. Mymother thinks I should wear it, but the thing has shoulder pads, it's so eighties. I actually love the colours, they're very muppets, but I don't know if I could wear them. I'm thinking a bag, maybe. Am I brave enough to make a felted bag from a jumper? Maybe.

Also, have been put on a guilt trip by this. Some of those kids remind me so much of my students last year in China. And here I am, sitting on my bum, whingeing. Bah.

Speaking of whinging, how hard is it to tell you in the help section how to put a button on your blog? I guess it's so simple that everybody already knows... except me... (can you hear the violins?)

Sunday, December 03, 2006

This and that.

So, I have been incredibly productive, knitting-wise. this may be because I have officially finished my honours year, and now I find myself at a bit of a loss. I got a 2a, if you're wondering, which is the third best. Not too bad, but not great, either, considering one of my friends got a first class. Then again, she had the year from hell, and just about killed herself with the stress, whereas I sort of floated through, in retrospect. Which means both that I got the score I deserved, for the amount of work I was willing to put in, and I am also happy with my result. Now that I've gotten over my jealousy and my might-have-beens. Frankly, I just wasn't prepared to put in the amount of extra work it would have taken. I should be, I know. It goes against the Protestant work ethic to admit that. But since I'm a lapsed-catholic/agnostic, I think that fits right in, don't you?

Anyway, the point is, I have some fantastic things to show you, but my sister has broken her camera (how inconsiderate!) so until she gets it fixed or I break down and buy myself one (but that would mean I couldn't afford more yarn!) I'll have to be content to show you what I did before she broke it.

I got excited by the discovery of fabric stash from goodness knows when, and whipped these up. I can sew sqaures, people! Are you proud of me? The idea was to cover the shelves in my wadrobe-thingy which store rarely used stuff. Because I'm living with my parents this year, and am back in my old, dark, TINY room (my sister's is huge. Don't get me started) there is a serious lack of storage space. Which is a problem I am well used to, being a pack-rat by nature. I have ribbon that I'm planning to make into proper... what would the word be? I'm planning on hemming the ribbon and sewing on snap-studs, for easy access. I was considering some embroidery, but I like them simple, especially since uncluttered space is at a premium in my life, even if it is vertical.

Along the same vein of reducing visual clutter:

I used more fabric-stash (it's got parrots on) to make a bag. I made it around a canvas green-bag. The idea occured to me a while back, since I am definately a novice-knitter. It was fun to make, but it's really too floppy, and the pockets are poorly placed. I might consider using it as a real bag, since I often use a green bag when lugging books etc around. They're a handy size. But it was not what my knitting needed, so I managed to find about 5 unused bags from my bag collection (you can never have too much wool or too many bags) which are now storing individual projects.

In leiu of photos, I'll just tell you what's on my needles:

1) Jo Sharpe cardigan: back cast off today. Front to commence as soon as I can work up the steam.
2) scarf for sister: almost finished the next installment. Now only one more strip, then blocking and finishing (oy)
3) A nautiloid as a chrissie present for an old science teacher (I am such a nerd. But she was my fave teacher, and my mother now works at my old school, and apparently the year 12s this year were less than grateful. Also, I've been dying to knit one. Gee, this was a long parenthesis) Almost done, only the tentacles left to knit.
4)Fingerless gloves: no more progress (boring)
5)Tool-case from Creative Knitting with fair-isle rose: finished, only blocking and finishing left. First attempt at fair-isle a little tight, but who's counting?
6)Cardigan for Arwen: eagerly awaiting yarn in the mail.

There. How productive am I? (That's a rhetorical question. The answer would be: very) Also fixated on the beret from Interweave Knits. My sister wanted me to knit one for her. I said, buy the yarn and I'll knit it. She discovered how much yarn costs and suffered a severe change of mind. Besides, after I've finished this blasted scarf and those gloves, I have decided I will no longer knit for her. She doesn't appreciate it. So there *crosses arms* So, if I have enough tweedy yarn left over when I finish this dratted scarf, which I think I will have, I'll be making a cream-coloured one for myself. I've discovered that knitting for oneself is lovely.

In other knitting news, I read a great kids book the other day. (I clean a primary school. I snoop in the library. So sue me) It was called Emily and the Dragon, and it was about Emily, who loved to dance, her pet chicken Egg and her noxious brother Jock who tells her at the start that "girls are feeble. They can't fight Dragons. Everybody knows that." To which Emily gamely replies "I don't know that." and sets off to find a dragon to fight.

Instead, she makes friends with a witch, a knight and the dragon who doesn't want to fight, she'd rather dance (everybody knows that dragons don't dance - I don't know) The reason it's knitting news is because the knight doesn't want to fight: he'd rather knit (but everybody knows knights don't knit.) Thankfully, Emily doesn't know that, and she teaches him, and there's some nice little educational graphics for any reader who'd like to join the knight. I thought it was charming, and the knight's droopy mustache reminded me of that Dick King Smith book - what was it?
I don't remember, but it was about a dubiously talented knight with a clever (talking) horse, and who is aided in the rescue of a princess by a horrible witch, who turns out to be both quite nice and the princess. I'm sure it was DKS. Anyway, I'll find out. It was a good book. Nice antidote to fairy-tale stupidness.

Well, i think that's enough rambling for now. I'm off to try to figure out how to put a button on my sidebar, and mayb e even update my links, which are woefully behind my voracious bookmarks. I'm addicted, people. Addicted...

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Pictures! At last! And haven't I been busy...

You can tell I'm putting off an essay, can't you?

My socks *singing*
I love them, I love them, I need more!
(damn my thirsty soul)

The Jo Sharp cotton bag.

It's supposed to have a wash-cloth and hand towel to match, but I was reluctant to spend all at once (ha ha), so they might come later. I think this would make a nice present-set, especially if you bought some matching soap-holders, etc. A little pricey, but.

This is the Jo Sharp cardi that I started. I am making good progress, no? Not that it's much more exciting than knitting a cushion right now, but the end product is much more worth it. Can you see the shiny-ness?

Yum. I love this wool. I love Bendigo Woolen Mills! Am planning another wool-haul, some for chrissie stuff (I know, I'm a trifle tardy) but mostly for my Arwen knit along. Very exciting. Anyway, to break up the monotony of cardigan-ness, I've been working on My sister's scarf - Voila!

And whenever the incessent un-tangling gets too much for me, I switch back to the cardi. Actually, the scarf is going quite well, I rolled it up and pinned it, because the length was tangling with the threads dangling from my needles. So now progress is much faster. It's not almost finished, but it is almost almost finished. And i also remembered I had those fingerless gloves for her, too. Christmas, here I come!

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

A new project

OK, so le sister has apparently hidden her camera... how inconsiderate!

However, I was looking at some of the 'knit alongs', and I found this one, ArwenAlong, for the 'cardigan for Arwen' from the latest Interwieve Knits. I do not yet have said magazine, but just you wait until I get paid! I've wanted... neede to do this since I saw it on the Knitnbitch blog.

The problem is the wool. It needs about 17 50g balls. The wool called for in the pattern is more than $10 a ball. I simply can't afford that much for this, especially considering all the toher purchases I've made lately, mostly of wool...

So, back to the Bendigo Woolen Mills swatch card. I can't decide. It's either one of these:

Or one of these:
Technically it's supposed to be aran weight, but with a bit of swatching and adjustment I could probably get away with a DK - it's in the list of suggested yarn substituates at the Yahoo group.

The red tweed in the top pic is what I'm currently doing my cardigan in. Here is a look at the swatch - I can't take pics but I can scan!

You can't see the thing I love best about it - that is, the way it glints in the light. In fact, it looks kinda boring, doesn't it? Oh well. I'll photograph my WIP of it when I can, and maybe you'll be able to tell then?

So, back to the yarn choosing. I don't know if you can really see them. I'm thinking maybe one of the blues or greens. I hesitate to choose them because, well, the picture is blue, and I hate choosing the same colour as the picture. But I seem to be doing it a lot. My socks are not the same colour as the pic (the pic is 'Paris' and my socks are 'Orchid'... or was it 'Orchard'?) but they're both green. My cardi, even though not planned, is also red, as in the pic. However, I like blues and greens, and they also seem appropriate. I like the idea of 'green opal' or maybe 'mariner' from the 'Rustic' selection (first pic) I have the choice of 8 or twelve ply for those (that is, DK weight or bulky weight)

Well, I have plenty of time to choose. I can't get the magazine until at least Monday. But I'd like to order the wool, so's I can have it soon after I get the pattern. As soon as I joined the KAL I got the horrible sinking feeling - this little voice in my head, squeaking 'you're falling behind! you're falling behind!' Damn my competative streak!

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

No pics, some talking

Been meaning to blog, but have been unable to get my hot little hands of little sisters camera, which would enable me to take pictures for ya. However, it is my supreme pleasure to inform you that I ma now wearing my socks, and they are wonderful, and I love them so very, very much. I am hooked. I want more socks. I must have more!!!

OK, I'm calm now. I have also finished a knitted bath bag from Jo Sharp, in cotton. It was my first knitting with cotton (yummy) my first moss stitch (surprisingly uninteresting. I could do it in my sleep. Oooh, how cocky I am) and also my first knitting-in-the-round (converted!) I have yet to make it up, because I need some buttons. Not to actually do anything, just for accent, you understand, but obviously it's impossible for me to do anything about it until I have the buttons. Obviously.

In other news, I have started on the wool from Bendigo Woolen Mills. It was supposed to be cushion covers from the last Creative Knitting. I decided to start it right after I'd finished my socks. I cast on the one hundred or so stitches. I knit one row. I pured another. I looked at the pattern - only 248 left... I frogged. Instead, I used the tweed wool to start a cardigan thing from Jo Sharp's Knit, Two. The wool is red, with deep blue through it so it looks kind of shimmery-purple, and lustrous. I probably wouldn't have chosen it for the project, but I think it's going to be stunning!

I'll try and get pics tomorrow, since I'm so proud, I can't help but show off.

In other news, I am now dreaming about knitting. Disturbing? Possibly. I also went to the library and completely borrowed all their knitting books. Am planning next haul from Bendigo Woollen Mills, and have numerous books in my Amazon cart... I think I'm in knitting overload...

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

New acquisitions and some forgotten talk

Look! I found the pattern (it's the red one on the left) and I bought the next season! So now I can finish that darned jumper, and if I hurry, I can catch up and watch the next season as it airs!

Sorry about the dodgy light...

Also, Look!

I got my package (I am now officially addicted to mail order) Snarky comments from my mother aside, about having too much money (no such thing,especially when it comes to yarn. or books.) I can't wait to get started on the wool, which, BTW, is gorgeous. And in huge 200gm balls.

Very exciting. I spent most of the evening reorganising. Turns out I do have a stash. Look!

OK, so one laundry basket full isn't much to some of the veterans, but I certainly didn't think I had that much! Most of it's acrylic, I used to make toys from Jean Greenhowe's books when I was a kid, and I guess stuff just accumulated. But there's about 10 balls of really nice DK wool, and some other stuff I forgot I had. it's been living in here for the last 10 years or so:

Notice the knitting needles hanging out of a coles green bag on the left of the pic. Definately gotta do something about that.

Also, I forgot yesterday to talk about the alpaca lady at the market. Not that she looks like an alpaca, or anything. So, there's a market here in Lobethal every weekend called Heart of the Hills. It's pretty good, if you're around, you should check it out. I mean, it's hardly a day's outing, but it's good to potter around, there's some interesting stuff. Also, there are two stalls I am interested in, particularly. One is for a knitting/spinning group who sell their products there. There's a couple of older ladies who are always there, spinning and knitting as they man (person?) the stall. It's great to watch. the other a stall devoted to alpaca stuff, products made locally, imported and also... yarn!

A bunch of alpaca farms have popped up lately, it's like alpacas are the new grapes. People are metaphorically ripping up their sheep farms to put in alpacas. Pretty soon, there'll be a glut on the market. Or something. Anyway, I bought a pair of insoles from this place a while back, and they are sooooo comfortable. The only downside is that now they're worn in they shed on my socks, but I'll take that.

The reason this is pertinent is that I was looking at patterns and there was one which called for alpaca wool, and I thought of this stall. They have a bunch of great stuff, in all different weights, and its just lovely. I didn't buy any because, well, look above, I've done enough of that for one week. But I'll definately be back. I was talking to the lady running the stall about it all, and it sounds exciting. I'm jealous of her. Also, I'd get a nice rush from buying locally made stuff rather than overseas or even interstate.

The locally done stuff is all natural colours, not dyed. (I'm wondering now how hard it is to hand dye alpaca...) They have some imported stuff from peru, though, wool and products, and it's the softest, most yummy thing ever. Like mohair, but not itchy at all. I have a peruvian alpaca-wool hat I got at an Oxfam CAA store, and it's like chalk and cheese. My hat is the sort of thing you sell to people who are looking for Quaint Handicrafts, the ponchos wraps and scarves they had at the stall were like silk and cashmere. I'm in lust. So, I'm definately planning a project.

I'm thinking of knitting a skirt. Yes, you heard me, knitting a skirt. I know, I know. I was just saying to my sister how, you know, some things you don't need to knit. Belts, for instance. Or, i don't know, a wedding dress... unless, of course, that's the point. But I was looking at blue sky alpacas for some alpaca patterns, and I saw this:

How can you not want to look like that? I know I do. I won't, but I'd like to. Also, I saw this version on knit and tonic and I was sold. What the hey, I already walk around town with a huge pair of ridiculous headphones on, I don't think I can really worry about what people are thinking.

And then I thought, sure, I want to look good. I mean, I don't want to walk around with my knickers hanging out or anything. But, in order to look good as most people see it, I have to be boring. And I'm really, really sick of being boring. So, I'm going to knit that skirt. (although not in white. I am not the sort of person who should be wearing white) And I'm going to wear it, and I don't care what my sister says or how many strange looks I get. What's the point of making nice stuff if you can't wear it? Or if you get too scared of making something cool you like because you think you wont? I think that's why I mostly make presents, so I don't have to worry about that. Well, no more!

Anyway, I had a bunch of stuff more I wanted to talk about, musings and that, but I have an essay due tommorrow, and I'm only halfway through, so I'll just leave it at that.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Weekend summary

Well, how was your weekend? Mine was pretty good. Went down and spent the day in town with my cousins on Saturday. Went to the library and overloaded.. some good fiction, but I hit their knitting section pretty hard. There were a couple of books I was thinking about buying, and I've since decided against one and for another, on the strength of what use I might get out of them. Saw Private Lives with two of them and my grandma (it was hilarious), and then hung around at their place until late. There was a fantastic thunderstorm, and it rained big, fat heavy rain all night. Lovely. Just lovely. Check this out for a pic or two. It put paid to my one rose, but there's another just come out.

I'd thought about taking some knitting with me, but my sock didn't seem very mobile, given the trouble I'd been ahving, and I didn't think I'd get time to do it. however, there was an hour or so that evening when I was just hanging around, and my fingers positively itched. I didn't get home till late, but even so, I had to knit a few rows before I went to bed. And then the next morning, we got this:

Sorry about the shine, but it's my sock. Or almost. I have to detatch it from it's umbilical cord, and then I can wear it. Just the one, I don't care. I'm so excited. I think I might be hooked on socks. The best thing is, I worked it out all by myself. I just feel so clever, I'm almost glad I made all those mistakes!

I thought about starting the next one, but by that time my cupcake hat was on the needles I would have needed. I knitted that in one day: yesterday, Sunday, in between doing other things. And I knitted furiously in the evening, once it got close to finishing I couldn't stop till it was done. My fingers hurt.

Here it is, doesn't it look scrumptious? Raspberry chocolate, good enough to eat. I bought the wool on Saturday, it was $1 a ball. I'm thinking a chocolate pompom and some choc sprinkles in the form of tube beads. I think this one will be a chrissie present for one of my younger cousins, but it does fit me, and I love it so much I'm going to have to make one for myself. I'm also wondering how hard it would be to make it into a tea cosy...

I sort of wish I'd made the ribbing longer. Nevermind, there's always next time.

Today it was lovely and drippy and misty when I got up. Here's a photo, although by the time I took it I'd missed the mist. (How poetic of me)

It's all cleared up now, and it's quite sunny.

The lawn has almost dried off. I know, because I just went and sat on it to cast on my next project. 101 stitches, and now my bottom's damp.

Had some nice native birds singing. Our garden's been infested with Starlings, which start out sounding pretty, but they've begun to drive me crazy. But, yesterday the magpies were out in force. That's got to be one of my most favourite sounds ever. They're absolutely beautiful, especially in the early morning or just when the sun's going down. Althought there'e one around here that seems to think that the hour between midnight and one in the morning is the perfect time to be singing.

Then we had a couple of kookaburras. One even landed on the electric pole. Can you see it? Not really, huh. I didn't want to get too close and scare it off, but I needen't have worried, he was quite unconcerned with me.

Had two Jehova's witnesses today, they scared the bejeezus out of me when they knocked on the door. Two middle aged women. Very enthusiastic. last time it was two very cute young men (well, they were. Don't look at em like that!) and the time before that, two angry looking women. I hate having a Kingdom hall nearby, I just don't want to know, but I feel bad for them, which I'm sure they'd be very surprised to know. They have to go around doing this, I'm sure some of them feel as awkward about it as I do. So I just nod my head and be polite when I really would like to disagree... only then they'd never go away. And if you knew me you'd know how hard it is for me not to argue ;P It's all very character building, I expect.

I hit podcast alley this morning to see if there were any knitting podcasts. I am now subscribed to about a million of them... I'll let you know if they're any good! I love my podcasts, and I aspecially love to sit down with my knitting and my headphones and listen to something interesting or educational or diverting while I make something beautiful. So I'm looking forward to discovering some interesting new people to like.

Well, that's the miscellania. I'm going to go get some more material for my nascent quilt tommorrow, which is exciting. I'm hoping I will be able to restrain myself money wise. Also, I'm hoping my order from Bedigo woolen mills will be here today. Can't wait!

Sunday, November 12, 2006

This was my second google quote today:

"To be able to fill leisure intelligently is the last product of civilization, and at present very few people have reached this level."
- Bertrand Russell

I thought it was appropriate...

In other news, I hope everyone else had a good armistice day/anniversary of Ned Kelly;s death/anniversary of Gough Whitlam's deposition... what a bundle of good memories we have for Novermber the 11th, I don't think.

My sort-of quilt

This is a pic of the quilt cover I did for my sister years ago, that I mentioned earlier on. I made it the year I graduated from high school, when I had started holidays but no one else had yet, so I had the house to myself.

It was Lord of the Rings themed, since the first movie had just come out
and we were both on a Tolkien kick. See, there's the ring in the middle, painstakingly copied out.

A better shot of the ring picture:

You can't really see, but in the red part, I painted on the runes or whatever they are that say "one ring to etc etc" It was hard. I did the same on the pillowcase I made to match. I originally wanted to embroider it, at least on the pillow, but it got too hard. I might give it a go if I was doing it again now, and I had enough time.

The thing I loved best (apart from having the final product all done) was choosing the fabrics. Check them out:

You can't really see very well. The top looks all fiery and lava-like. The red on the bottom looks like tangled branches. The idea was to sort of describe the journey they had to take to get rid of the ring, with the ring in the centre. The picture below shows it better.
I was thinking of putting some foresty fabrics on the edge, but I ran out of room, and the colours didn't really go.

My sister still uses it on her bed, although with different pillowceses now. Which is pretty flattering if you think about it. Or maybe not - she did use a fairy quilt set she got when she was tiny up until just a few years ago when it fell apart...

Anyway, I'm surprised by how good it still looks. It was my first proper project, and still my only really big one. Hmmmm... I'm being tempted into doing something similar... cos I totally need new project, I don't think.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Some Musings

So, in my enthusiasm about all the cool stuff I've uncovered on the net, I sent a link to one of my friends (it was the anticraft website, which is way cool, if'n you don't know yet.) and then I gave her the link to this blog. She said some nice things about it - actually, now that I re-read it, she mostly said she was surprised, and wasn't I clever to have a blog? And then she said (and I haven't asked if I could use this, so I wont use her name or anything, although she's the only one who's seen the blog, anyway)

WTF – where do you get the time to keep a diary, girl??!?!? You are supposed to be in your most stressful (not sock-stressful, but study-stressful) year – your honours year! Or at least having lunches+going shopping with me, but you are conquering the web!!!

And I sort of justified myself, but in an embarrased sort of way. Which, now that I think about it, WTF? I did point out, in a previous email to her, that it's very depressing, as a femminist, being only really very good at girly stuff. I mean, I do fine at other stuff, but what I'm really good at, better than other people good at, is baking, knitting, sewing and embroidery. Yick.

Only not. As I said to her, the thing I have got so excited and motivated about on finding this fantastic net-presence of crafters out there is that you don't have to stitch pictures of kittens or quilt lovely pink rose fabrics, or knit pastel smoking jackets and bobbly hats, although if that's what you want to do, why the hell not? But if that's not your thing, you can go to the Anticraft website, and find a pattern for a twisted doll, or you could just knit something that's nice and you can be proud of it and you know that someone didn't get paid 2 cents a piece to make it for you. So there.

And yes, I am a femminist, thankyou very much. I happen to think that I'm my own person, and that I have more to offer than reproduction and cooking, although if I want to do those things too, you'd just better let me, that's all I'm saying. I'm not hugely militant or anything, although in today's society that's a very relative thing, but I do try to keep in mind how easy I have it compared to almost every woman ever born, and while I don't always make the most of that (note, I'm blogging, not doing my history essay which will get me a nice shiny honours degree) I happen to appreciate it.

This isn't a rant at my friend, per se, its just that I felt so guilty and embarrassed, and why should I? I can't draw much, nad I certainly can't sing, but I can knit and sew and bake, and if that's how I want to be creative, that should be a good thing. So why is a part of me dry wretching. If I wanted to make sculptures out of car parts, would I feel guilty? Well, maybe. I am good at feeling guilty. It's my catholic upbringing, I tells ya.

So, the conclusion is, I refuse to feel guilty since I'm making something while I watch TV, which is better than most people can say. And now, since I like pictures and you've (maybe) sat through my mini-rant, here's a nice girly photo of the rose on my rose bush.

A forgotten project

So, in rummaging through my stash of UFO's I found this jumper I have had for about 3 years. I bought all the wool ages ago, and sort of started knitting it, but it's too small for me, so I had to adjust the pattern, which I am not good at. Several phone calls to mum later, I started it. Then, when I got halfway through the first side, I couldn't really remember what I had done, alterations-wise, so I just put it away rather than figure it out.

The wool. And also, my knee, whoops!
Lovely and chunky, is it not. I mean
the wool, thankyou!

Then, when I was in China last year I had this sudden, uncontrollable urge to knit. My mum had sent me a bunch of cross-stitch (I fully intend to have some pics of that sort of stuff soon, since I have stacks) but I wanted something to knit. So she sent me the wool, needles and patterns, and I finished the front. Then I put it away again, and brought it back home with me.

About 6 months ago or more, on my last major knitting kick, I pulled it out again and thought 'to hell with the adjustments. I'm just going to knit the pattern, and maybe it will fit someone I know.' It's got a garter-stitch slashed neckline, which i don't think would be that flattering on me anyhow. So I knitted it, front and back, while working my way through my West Wing DVDs.

The front and the back

Unfortunately, I only have up until season 4, and I was halfway through the first sleeve when I ran out, and I just couldn't seem to keep going. I'd be tempted to pick it up again - it's so close to being finished, and the the thick wool and chunky needles would make a nice texture-change from this dratted 8-ply-4mm-needles sock. However, in trying to organise a pic of the pattern for you, I realised... the book is completely AWOL. and now, of course, because I can't, I'm dying to finish it! Aaargh!

The old front, to be unpicked. Oh, and my
knee again.

Well, on the bright side, at least this blog is living up to its name!


Nnnnngh! So close! See how far I got? I even started shaping the toe, but it still wasn't right. Guess what I did? No, go on, guess? I mixed up the needles, I thought that needle one was needle three, so the decreasing was all in the wrong places, and the sock was all twisted...

can you see?

But, the good news is, once I frogged right back to the gorram heel, it seems to be going fine. Voila:

A pretty, pretty, nicely shaping heel. Now all I need to do is knit 15 centimetres or so of so-exciting stocking stitch, and then I can start shaping the toe... can you feel my excitement emanating from your computer screen?

Every time I've had to rip out all the stitches, I think of a conversation I had with my sister about 5 months ago now. We were watching TV together, and I was trying to turn the heel for the first time - as far as I knew it was going surprisingly well, but the needles were clinking all over the place, and I was narrowly avoiding taking an eye out - mostly because I wear glasses.

Sister: that looks soooo stupid.
Me: Oh yeah?
Sister: (laughing) yeah.
Me: Yeah, well, you'll look stupid when I have a sock!
Sister: (uncontrollable snorting)

*sigh* never mind, look at my lovely neat decrease I have now. I guess practice does make perfect...

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Warning! Sock alert!

This is a sock I am knitting. Again. It's a Jo Sharpe, from Knit, Issue One, and it's driving me nuts!!! The first time I knit it, a couple of months back, I turned the heel perfectly, got to the toes, and ended up with what looked like a tumour growing out the end. So I unpicked all the way back to before the heel before I could find a spot to restart where I knew where I was. Now I can't do the heel right. I don't know if the instructions are just plain wrong (they are a little vague) or I have simply slipped into the parallel universe known as SOCK HELL.

I will make another running jump at them, and let you know if my sanity's gone walkabout or not. In the meantime, here's what the damned thigns are supposed to look like.

I dream of quilting...

I don't know if this counts as a project, yet. It's still in the planning stages. My mother gets quilting magazines and fairly regularly she buys doubles by accident or there's a 'bonus' package which she alreay has (don't you hate that?) so I end up with the extras. I've never tried quilting before, although technically I can sew. And I also made a quilt cover for my sis about 5 years ago now, using semi-quilting techniques. Semi-using quilting techniques. Whatever.

Anyway, I saw this, and I just had to have it. I'm sure you all know the feeling. It's flannel, and I know this isn't the season (at least in this hemisphere) but maybe if I start it now, it'll be ready for winter (Yeah, right. Winter what year?)

A friend of my mother's has said she'll help me/us work out how to go about it, so this could launch me into the world of quilting, although it's not as comforting as knitting. I can't wait to get my hands on the finished product, it's going to be so snuggly and wonderful.

Here's the fabric I've bought for it so far. The only flannel I could find in the all-purpose craft-sew-whatever stored in town was the red check at the back. The fabrics on the right aren't even flannel - just boring old cotton. The left is flannel, a jackpot was found at a local quilting store, but I ran out of dough, so I will be revisiting the Patchwork Apple when next I get payed. *excitement!*