Friday, June 30, 2006

The Imp had a bad case of "I want up" this morning and used the windowsill and stash boxes to get as high as is possible in this house. Most Australian houses built before around 1990 did not have built in wardrobes (closets) so you get free standing wardrobes like this is. As big as a regular bullt in closet.

I woke up with my hands very sore and the right hand knuckles red and swollen. Could have been due to spinning or wrestling with books yesterday at work, or the damp, who knows. I will not knit or spin today and I will give my hands a rest after this post and read (probably with feline company) and probably fall asleep. It is grey and overcast outside and raining so I don't think outdoor work is on the cards. I am still thinking about what colour to overdye the WW2 socks to make then darker brown and I am tempted to try green to counteract the orange in the socks. Then my best friend the postie who does packages (letters and packages are delivered separately) gave me a fat envelope full of cormo roving half dyed and half white. These from Juniper Designs. I hate to see how big the spinning stash is getting. I did wind off my 1 oz sample of Jacob from Spirit Trail which was in my rare breeds sample pack I bought at Rhinebeck last year. It felt very rough after spinning merino but is suprisingly soft when spun. I have more Jacob in the stash. There is no Cormo or Jacob in Australia (she thinks). So what whill I buy in Bendigo?

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

I have recently succumbed to the lure of eBay and am bidding on some luxury yarns that I probably shouldn't have, but what the hey. Guess what those are--WW2 socks. But while I wish they were the colour shown in the photo, they are not and I may have to do some tweaking, overdye with tan because they are really butterscotch orangey brown. I probably should have used the dye I know (Gaywool and Landscape) and not used the kind I did but I assumed military "hosiery tan" would actually be that. Silly girl. Otherwise I am still spinning Brown Sheep grey mill end roving, knitting Trekking socks, and occasionally knitting some on the handspun cardigan. Both the cardigan and the socks require a lot of knit/purl action which is hard on my hands. I need to swatch for S's Christmas jumper to have some plain knitting to trade off with.

Book report: Finished Alpine for you by Maddy Hunter which sounded good in the reviews but was just too glib. You could tell what was going to happen from the first page. Still reading White Mughals by WIlliam Dalrymple which is interesting but heavy going. In addition to real footnotes (citations) there are asterisked footnotes in mouse-print that are mostly side notes and skippable for us visually impaired but who can tell till you read them.Started Germanicus by David Wishart which I picked up in a used book store. I had never read his Roman mysteries although i have religiously read Lindsay Davis. To be honest I found the Falco mysteries fun but difficult to follow. Falco makes a lot of off side remarks that I don't follow and I don't know if I am slow or whether they are supposed to be confusing. I love the characters but the mystery part throws me. Wishart's character is different in that he is born noble, but still has a cohort of weird relatives, strange clients and lots of Roman background detail. I am actually enjoying it more than the Davis novels and I may have to get the rest in the series. Lots of wine-drinking and sex with his feisty wife.

Because the Bear ate out last night and I was left home alone with Della and nothing on TV, I did some searching on my china pattern, Royal Doulton Sarabande which I just discovered was discontinued in 1998. If I could sell it to a dealer in replacement china I could make a handy amount of money. You see, my dear MIL was a Royal Doulton rep in Sydney and she gave me her set of Buckingham which is one of the high end and still active Royal Doulton patterns. So I have 2 sets of bone china which I never use. Wait till a stepdaughter marries and give one to her? Might be a long wait.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Thanks to commenters on the drug issue. I should amend what I said about opioid use as to why I take them and it's not simply because I'm in pain, although my GP once said to me, "you know you'll never be pain-free" (gee, thanks for that pick-me-up, doc) Because of the other medications I take, I cannot metabolize codeine into morphine. Codeine is an OTC medication here, easily available for migraine, etc. My GP in the States was very paranoid about prescribing codeine for migraines but here it's advertised in TV. Normally your body turns codeine into morphine; mine doesn't. When I get a toothache or tmigraine or the like, I can't take anything. The best solution is simply to lie down and do relaxation exercises (which usually result in me falling asleep). However, the paperwork involved in getting prescribed morphine is absurd. My GP must be authorized to prescribe it (a form he has to send off), and then each prescription has to have approval from the govt.(that part is done on the phone). We had such nightmare keeping 2 perscriptions in synch that I now go month to month rather than trying to get a script with refills. Every month, I have to see my GP and he takes 20 minutes filliing out forms and calling for approvals. When I saw him a few months ago, I said "you haven't done anything medical for me in ages, just fill out forms." You cannot get any refills on any prescription without seeing a GP. While I suppose there is merit in this in patient monitoring, I have been taking some medications for 10 years but I have to see my GP once every X months for him to write a new script with a new approval. And medications all come prepackaged in set dosages so a pharmacist's job is more paperwork and slapping a label on a prepacked box or bottle. That's one reason I have trouble with the morphine; I take 40 mg. The tablets only come in 30 mg and 10 mg packages. Hence 2 scripts.

On a lighter note I came home from work today and the front yard was full of silvereyes (the little twittery things). There must have been at least 50 all zooming around and twittering. I just stood there and let them zoom around me until somebody signalled it was time to move out and they all took off. Yesterday while I was pruning, one came close to pooping on me, which was not so nice!

Sunday, June 25, 2006

WHY WHY WHY! I forgot to take my med this morning. I now have an explanation for why I have been dizzy, nauseous, and bloated that does not relate to having split pea soup for lunch. We had our normal Sunday brekkie of srambled eggs and english muffins and I forgot to take my pills! In the AM I worked on my knittting magazine index project (75 patterns so far and I've done Vogue Knitting, Cast On and Sandra which are the small lots) and after lunch I went out to do more pruning but I could hardly lift the long-handled pruners, and every time I bent over to pick up branches I got dizzy. When you have as many things wrong with you as I do, you tend to dismiss "little things" like dizziness or bloating. I have BPV (benign positional vertigo) but it wasn't this bad last week. IBS makes me bloat, but I take simethicone for that (well, I thought I did) and what about missing your morphine dose could make you feel bad anyway? Now, children, there is a reason why drugs are bad, and I am talking opioids here. I am not "hooked" like a drug addict who wants her next hit to get high. I don't get high; I might get low without it, but I don't feel any rush of wonderfulness when I take my time-release morphine. I just don't hurt as bad. But NOT taking an addictive drug when you are physically addicted means you start to go into withdrawal and it's not a nice place to be. I ususually feel so bad I can't function so feeling just a bit off-centre confuses me. I hate myself when I do stupid things like this. Here I have a fleet of doctors trying to keep me well and I can't remember to take the f***ing pills.
Round 12: They lost. I didn't watch it because I preferred to spend the evening with the Bear watching a DVD ("Good Night and Good Luck"). The scoreline showed their kicking was off again, something that has let them down repeatedly over the years (and I mean years). Roosy says there are senior players carrying minor injuries that has cut their ability to train. 60,000 at Telstra Stadium is a good turn-out, and I love rubbing it in to rugby which struggles to pull 20,000 and frequently has trouble pulling 5,000 to a match. Yet the commentators still believe the NSW is a rugby state.

"Good Night and Good Luck" is a movie we saw in NY with my sister in October and while it struck a chord with me, not because I am old enough to remember the McCarthy era but because I remember Murrow, I was surprised to see how interested the Bear was. He is not the most articulate of animals so I don't know if it was the excellence in the production or the ideas presented or his interest in things American that caught his interest. Since his taste frequently runs to mindless action movies, this was a surprise.

Yesterday I dyed the WW2 socks. I am very unhappy with the results but I have no recourse now except perhaps to try overdyeing. I used the dye supplied by my customer, which is supposed the military use "hosiery tan" and he also supplied me with their version of khaki which looked olive drab to me. I followed the directions and did a sample of hosiery tan and got butterscotch but even more orange. I threw the khaki in to try and tone it down and did another sample. Better but not right. At that point I should have thrown out the dye and tried using my Landscape dyes but I tried anyway. The result is a very rich butterscotch after simply dipping the socks in and out. The directions told me to boil the material for long periods of time but that was absurd given the colour strike I was getting. I will photograph them when they are thoroughly dry but I might try overdyeing first.

Weird site reports: Cute overload for all your kitten and rabbit needs and the Minnestota Association of Rogue Taxidermists (not for the squeamish) including its links to crytozoology (did I mention I have a fear of giant squid brought on by viewing 20,000 leagues under the sea at an impressionable age?)

Saturday, June 24, 2006

It does my insecure heart good to read Crazy Aunt Purl. My sister may find my blog too personal but Purl shares everything. Like her cat eating lilies. Cats eating flowers are such a normal occurrence in this house that it isn't reported. When I was recovering from my hysterectomy, the girls at the Library brought me red and white carnations. When I came home from hospital, the vase was put on top of the refrigerator to prevent them from being eaten. Each night thereafter one carnation disappeared. How the cat (I know the flower child) got to the fridge is still a mystery. Since The Imp has entered the household I try to leave anything vegetative outside, because even if she doesn't eat it, she will probably break something, or simply make a loud crash in the middle of the night, trying to get to it. A Georg Jensen crystal vase got broken while she was investigating lemon verbena brought in from the backyard. There was no need to break the vase, but we like maximum impact. I found out why the window beside my bed is so sought after that we will try to sit in it even while the venetion blinds are down (very noisy when Mummy is trying to nap). There are little twittery birds called silvereyes (see photo) in the shrubs between the 2 houses and they are very much fun to watch. Sometimes there are bigger birds like currawongs or magpies. Being visually impaired (me not the cat) I am very grateful that Australian birds are often large, brightly coloured, and unsually incredibly tame. When you go to a picnic area in a national park you may have to shoo the birds off the picnic table or guard your sandwiches. Before our terrible bushfires burnt out our best nature reserve Tidbinbilla, there were signs at the entrance saying "Do not feed the emus". Ha! When the Bear took me there the first time, an emu took the sandwich right out of my hand and I was NOT trying to feed him (or her).

I also have a similar relation to eBay as Purl does. It's like porn and I have to stop myself from bidding on things. But I was very sad to see that I missed out on a vintage Alice Starmore book by $3 when it is selling now for over $100. She who hesitates and doesn't buy luxury yarn because it's too expensive loses out on buying a book for $69 when it now costs $110. Purl reads knitting blogs instead and so do I. But some people knit so fast it is incredibly disheartening to people like me, especially since I am spinning too (or actually plying, the last of the tan merino). All I have accomplished is about an inch on my socks while waiting in the the dr's office. I decided to do the Trekking socks in broken rib just to be a little less boring.

Swannies play Collingwood tonight. They have 3 matches with top-of-the-ladder teams soon and I hope they don't fall asleep and they manage to kick straight but that's like hoping to cockatoo I just heard won't eat the nuts on my juniper.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

One of the things about spinning that was not adequated explained to me (or that I didn't adequately grasp) is the importance of fibre preparation. [If you are a new spinner, I recommend you viewing the video/DVDs available from Victorian Videos from Mabel Stowe or Patsy Zawistoski. These may be available from your guild or you can rent them.] I am not referring to washing raw fibre but what you should do with even the most commerical of tops or rovings or whathever the dealer sold it as. If you are processing wool yourself you will have all the steps of washing, drying, carding or combing or flicking but I am talking about commercially prepared roving. At the most basic when you take a hunk of roving to spin and pull off a section to spin (never cut), you sould again split it lengthwise, and sometimes split it again. Roving gets compressed for and during shipment taking all the air out of it and making the fibres try to stick together. The photo at left shows a length of my Brown Sheep mill end roving as pulled out of the bag, compressed. You could just twist the roving and get a form of thick rope that would hold together pretty well. Splitting it down to smaller sections opens it up. Then you should grasp the end in one hand and move the other hand a bit beyond the length of individual fibres and gently pull, drawing it out lengthwise. This will make it loads easier to spin. Go down the length of the segment and pull the whole way, lengthening the segment but not to the extent that you are pulling it apart, just letting the fibres slide past each other more easily. The photo at right shows the roving after being split and-pre-drafted; you can now see the pattern of my sofa through the wool. Then, depending how thoroughly your roving has been processed you can do what somebody called "monkey grooming". You've seen monkeys going over each other's fur, picking out what I shall call nasty bits. Your roving might need some grooming to remove noils (little balls of fibre that got tangled up in carding), and second cuts (short pieces of wool that occur where the shearer started and then went back for a second go at the fleece), and our beloved VM (vegetable matter). I am totally surprised that the Brown Sheep mill end roving I am spinning still has the occasional bit of weed or grass seed. I would have thought by this time there would be nothing left. Commercial wool scourers treat wool through a sulfuric acid process that should remove all VM. If your wool was processed at home or, even as we see in as commercial a business as Brown Sheep, there can still bit of grass. This is why Australian Quarantine is so leery about importing wool, and I don't blame them as one of those weed seeds could be a noxious pest that could cause millions of dollars to eradicate. So I pine for wool that I can only afford as raw fleece, and doesn't occur in Australia. Shetland, Icelandic, Wensleydale, Blue Faced Leicester... And here are the last 3 balls of discount Opal that arrived today. The centre one is really red, not pink.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

I haven't posted in a while for no good reason. Not enough hours in the day. Today my IBS (irritable bowel syndrome, another companion of FMS) is making a brief visit, just enough to make me want to stay near facilities. Dinner was bread & butter. The senior cat is driving me batty. I let her sleep with me because it's winter and I feel sorry for her because the Imp gets so much attention. But she's a big cat and when she insists on sitting on me, my leg muscles complain after a while and she acts all hurt and indignant when I ask her to get down so I can move. When she comes to bed she frequently has to be awakened from where she's been sleeping on a heating vent to come to my bedroom and then she comes to the door and just sits looking in. I practically have to coax her to cross the threshold. Then there is this heavy lump usually in the middle of the bed. I have to close the door or the Imp would either use me as a jumping castle, pick on the senior cat provoking a middle of the night cat-fight on top of me, or lick my neck (she likes licking the Bear's ankles when she sleeps with him). If we have to use the litter box in the night we wake Mummy up to let us out and then scratch on the door to be let back in. This is why I am a cat lover....

On the knitting front I have done about 8" on my MIL's Eros scarf and either because of the way this ball was dyed or because I am knitting it a bit wider than mine, it is displaying nice broad stripes of colour, turquoise, lavender, purple in shiney viscose dots against the black binder. I have finished a pair of socks for The Bear in a boring navy fleck and cast on a pair for me in Trekking in a purples and blues colourway. I am using my new rosewood dpns which are a bit longer than I normally use but are so pleasing. I listened to the Knitcast at work today and was drooling at the description of the luxury yarns on sale at the Naked Sheep in Toronto. It was my first notice of the Sea Silk yarn from Handmaiden. Sounds scrumptious, but then all their yarns are. I also stumbled upon Honeypot yarns online but they don't seem to have much of a retail presence yet. Their colour mixes are to die (dye) for and the fibres are deluxe. I wish sometimes I were more of a spendthrift and bought luxury yarns, like silk and cashmere and angora but my New England purse snaps shut at the prices. I got my 2 discounted Opal balls, one is Zebra which I couldn't resist.

Friday, June 16, 2006

A brief post regarding footy and Australian English. Pictured is Brett Kirk, or course nicknamed "Captain" Kirk and indeed, one of the Swans'team catains this year. He is tenacious, fearless, the hard ball getter. Stats on tackles are fantastic and I think he is definitely worthy of his nickname. As you know I am reading Shake Down the Thunder which is the story of the Swans, told in interviews with players and people around the team. It is fascinating to know the inside feelings and tactics, such as the fact that they practiced last minute goaling so that Nick Davis's goal in the St Kilda final was not as freaky as it seemed but still magic. Now a quote from Kirky, "I copped one early and basically had a hole in my head that required 15 stitxhes. I felt pretty ordinary for a while but that's footy." So, to any non-AFL fans, you don't leave the ground if you are hurt; they swaddle your head up with bandages so you don't bleed on anyone and you continue to play. Only if you are carried off in a stretcher and are taken to hospital are you out of the match. That's not totally true but close. Notice also the use of the work "ordinary". Ordinary means not very good as opposed to the American meaning of not special, basic, vanilla, generic. "An ordinary day" here means pretty awful as opposed to a day like any other. "That meal was pretty ordinary" means you'll never go back to that restaurant rather than it wasn't anything special but acceptable. Aussies still think American English has completely overrun Australian idioms. They don't even know what is Australian and what isn't. I saw a book about "lost Australian turns of speech" and right on the cover was "It's snowing down south" which any American lady of a certain age knows means "your slip is showing". It may be dying because nobody wears a slip anymore but it's not uniquely Australian.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

I have actually been quite busy fibre-wise. I have almost finished carding the grey from the spotted fleece. Lastly there is the white to card. Tonight I wound off the recently spun Wendy Dennis's hand-dyed Polwarth and the photo does not do it justice. It has a lovely silky hand to it and there is a very subtle interplay of blue, rose and a grey/green. I hope there is enough to make a lace scarf. I am very pleased since I aimed for a finer weight yarn than I usually spin and it looks nice, but it has not been washed so I don't know how it will bloom when it hits water. I really liked this Polwarth and I have some dark brown but I will be on the look-out for more in Bendigo. I have another lot of Wendy Dennis's hand-dyed in the stash

I also received my shipment of mill ends from Brown Fleece as sold by The Sheep Shed Studio and I am very pleased (maybe I'm just easily pleased). I have a pound each of mostly black with grey stripes (pictured) and a pound of mostly grey with black stripes. I also got a pound of purple superwash which may end up socks.

I am definitely off the yarn diet as I have bought a number of balls of Opal sock yarn at what I consider steal prices. Opal and Trekking are my two favourite sock yarns and while I try everything, they still rank at the top. I also found a place in Canada off loading ends of Philosopher's Wool at half price. I know that people think there are "nicer" wools than theirs for fair isle, but I've got the book and I love the designs and I want to give it a go with wool I know is made for the designs. There wasn't a complete colour range but I got navy and a lighter blue, two shades of raspberry and light grey to play with. I figure if I don't buy a kit or some other pre-planned fair isle thing I'll never get around to actually doing it.

And guess what? The Imp just brought me a sheep! She has been trying to removing its stuffing for days but I keep putting it back.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

I surrender to the High school meme floating about (try Googling it) partly because of some private stuff going on in my life. Any questions regarding high school have 2 answers, up to senior year when I was happily in NY and senior year when I was unhappily in FLA.

1. Who was your best friend? In NY, Wendy and Patti who went to the movies with me every weekend, and who listened to the same music and talked on the phone endlessly. In Fla, I didn't have any.

2. What sports did you play?
None, either place.

3. What kind of car did you drive? In NY I wasn't legal to drive. In Fla, my mother's wide-track Pontiac, 1959 model.

4. It's Friday night, where are you? At home, watching TV with my parents. I didn't (wasn't allowed to) date.

5. Were you a pary animal? You must be kidding.

6. Were you in the "in" crowd?
See no. 5. Academically I was close to the top in my class in both places but that doesn't make you popular.

7. Did you even skip school? Nope. Too afraid of screwing up my grades.

8. Ever smoke a cigarette? Yep. My father owned stock in American Tobacco and I snitched his free samples at 16. It was love at first drag and I smoked until I was 30.

9. Were you a nerd? I suppose so, if grades counted. Fashion-wise I made all my own clothes and made Vogue copies of the latest fashions.

10. Did you ever get suspended/expelled? Never. I was a Good Girl.

11.Can you sing the alma mater? Not to either one. Not even a glimmer of a memory.

12. Who was your favourite teacher? In NY, probably Mr. Snow, the chemistry teacher. I don't remember the names of my Fla teachers.

13. Favourite class? In NY French or English; in Fla, Humanities.

14.What was you School's full name? Eastchester High School, Manatee County High School

15. School Mascot? Eagles; Hurricanes

16. Did you go to the Prom? No.

17. If you could go back and do it over, would you? No, and I'd opt out of the senior year in Fla and go straight into college, which I could have done, but didn't know it at the time.

18. What do you remember most about graduation? The excrutiating sun-burn I had on my shoulders due to partying too long in the sun at the senior beach party (the only party I went to in Fla because the whole class went)

19. Favourite memory of your senior year? The guy in front of me in home room who was nice to the new girl and let me make up stories about us as a couple to send back north. In retrospect, I think he was gay!

20. Were you ever posted on the senior wall? What's a senior wall?

21. Did you have a job your senior year? No.

22. Who did you date? Nobody.

23. Where did you go most often for lunch? The classroom where we had Humanities next period; a bunch of kids hung out there instead of going to lunch.

24. Have you gained weight since then? My word, yes. I thought I was fat in high school, but baby look at me now!

25. What did you do after graduation? Go to college across the state and had a wonderful time.

26 What year did you graduate? 1966.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Why am I trying to post while The Imp is asleep like a baby on my left arm and shoulder? She may be small for a cat but she still weighs a bit. There. I extracted the claws from my shoulder and put her down. As another sign of her deep devotion, the sheep was right outside the shower when I opened the door to get out this AM.

I am going to veer slightly off the course fibrewise to another passion which is needlepoint (sometimes called tapestry but that gets confused with "real" tapestry which is a weaving art such as practiced by the Victorian Tapestry Workshop, whose products I can only gawk at). At left is the secord of three panels in an Anchor kit of pictures of tropical fish. It is about half done which means the kit is half done since one panel is complete. I didn't realize (or hid my eyes) that the whole thing was counted and my eyes don't do counted very well these days. But this kit is rather forgiving because nobody will know if one bit of weed is a few stitches off. I have done all four of my dining room charis in different designs (done back in the states while watching NFL before I discovered AFL which gives you no time to do any craft) and lots of pillows that I have mostly given away. I recently added to my very small stash of tapestry kits (really only one) buying an Ehrmann kit (at right) on sale. I have done two of their Kaffe Fassett kits which I bought while in Birmingham UK on a business trip in 1988 but they were given away and I can't afford his current work. Ah for the days of better exchange rates! When one lives outside the US/UK world one is always aware of the exchange rates, and they appear in the nightly news so you know exactly where they are. When the Aussie dollar goes up I race off the buy stuff and when it's down I keep my plastic in its place.

I mentioned my eyes and someone had commented on the presence of kerataconus in the list of ailments. It is a congenital corneal defect which causes the cornea to bulge out of its normal curve. This causes blurred and/or double vision which slowly degrades over a period of years; I was diagnosed in 1984.
While it runs in families, I have few relatives and no full siblings. It is correctable for a while by gas-permeable (rigid) contact lenses but at some point some people with the condition reach the point where vision is no longer correctable for the work they do. I deal with computer data bases all day and must be able to read print in a variety of sizes and conditions. Computer software has come a long way in being able to customize fonts and sizes but most of us can remember the days when it was one size, in green on black. When my vision could only be corrected to 20/100, my doctor (at the Ohio State University Eye Hospital) operated to give me corneal grafts in both eyes (1989 & 1990). Now my vision is corrected (under ideal conditions in the optomotrist's chair) to 20/20 but one contact is adjusted for distance and the other for close and I still need reading glasses for close work. Therefore, counted work is difficult and it takes an hour to do about one square inch of the fish canvas. I gave up my work as a photographer. I was good enough that I was encouraged to turn pro and I was tempted but was too chicken to give up my paycheck. I sold a number of my photos, but when I could no longer see to focus my enlarger in the darkroom, I gave it up and bought an autofocus camera. Now the digital equivalent is beyond my means at the moment, but I hope to have something better than what I am currently dealing with (Kodak 3MG pixel).

The bear just returned from a trip to the hardware store with a present (which obviously didn't come from the hardware store), a new book by Jim Main about the Swans winning the AFL Premierseship last year. Yes, Shake Down the Thunder comes from the Notre Dame fight song, which has been altered to fit the Swans. This is one of those footy history mysteries as to why the All-Australian AFL (or formerly VFL) teams all have American tunes as their club songs. Do not ask me because I don't know. The Swans eventually lost Saturday's match by 2 points. I am not all that upset because they were due for a loss and the middle of the SCG was a mix of swimming pool and mud bath. I feel sorry for J who chose that match for her first Swans match in Sydney but then I have say through a gfew like that in that ground.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

The Swannies are slogging it out with the Saints at the SCG in a downpour and I got so angry at the refereeing that I turned it off. One too many decisions which when done by the opposition is fine but when the Swans do it, it results in a free kick to the other side. Any match played in a downpour in not a game of skill and AFL is a skill sport not a brute force sport like NFL or gridiron as it is called here. Akin to trying to play a passing game in a blizzard.

Since we have a wet long weekend, I have done exciting things like re-organize my knitting needles (all circulars in steel, bamboo, rosewood, ebony, etc.) and find a pattern for S's Christmas present. He's an 8 and I wanted an Aran but not an excessive Aran. Why do so many children's knitting patterns stop before or at size 8? Even the patterns that had adult versions had an enormous gap between the largest child's size and the smallest adult. I ended up with a semi-vintage Paton's booklet from the 70's with all the children looking surly in the photos. The yarn is bottle green superwash.
I salvaged some really heavy-duty plastic sleeves for knitting patterns from some discarded material at the library. They won't disintegrate easily.

I found needles to knit my MIL a scarf out of Plymouth Eros after she admired mine. Hers will be greens and blues as mine was blues and purples. I have a real thing at the moment for ribbon and railroad yarns. But I am SO over eyelash yarn.

I also got TWO packages from Amazon today, one of which contained Deb Menz's Color in Spinning which I have been pining for for when it was out of print and finally bought, as well as Yarns to Dye for so I am keen to dye something. I have done some dyeing before but never in a controlled fashion. While I love to buy the richly dyed roving seen at fibre fests, I am often disappointed that the colours mingle so when spun. I almost prefer to hand-dye yarns rather than the roving but both give wonderful results in different ways. Trying to dye roving so that the resulting spun yarn will not only look good on its own but also maintain its colourway when knitted into a garment sometimes seems too hard. Deb had many swatches in her book and I had a hard time imagining them in garments, or which garments would suit which colour combination. Thus I have books on dyeing roving, dyeing yarn, knitting with handpainted yarn, etc. Try to put all the pieces together from plain wool to finished garment will be a goal when I tavckle one of those lumps of white wool.

I know I said that I adored podcasts. Well, I listened to one knitting one yesterday that was so bad I wanted to scream. It sounded like a 6th grade book report, both in the content and the delivery. I will not name names because I am too polite but I will not listen again. If that's the best that can be produced I am ashamed of the the knitting community which produces wonderful blogs.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

I suppose having a post being mostly fibre-related is a bit of a shock. First off I received one of my parcels from Elann containing some Katia Twist which is supposed to match up (not exactly I know but close enough to make it interesting) with some of the same I bought on our last trip to the States. I also ordered a Katia pattern book which has lots of interesting summer itrms in both DK and heavier cotton weights. I am going to have to find an alternative outlet for the wool I have, and am producing, because I have come to realize that in the Australian climate there is more opportunity to wear T-shirts than Aran jumpers, no matter how much I love Aran jumpers. I still have the one my mother knitted for me 30 years ago and because I take very good care of my knitted items, it is still in fine condition. Therefore I don't need another, do I?

I have also been informed of a forth-coming e-magazine called Fiber Femmes, which is due to start publication on July 1. For some reason I put my hand up and they want an article on the WW2 socks. I was going to photocopy the pattern booklet for my uniform reconstructor. He said I should knit more and sell them on eBay! As if anyone could pay me enough for my time to repeat the exercise. Knowing what I know now, it will not happen again because these aren't just garden variety socks!

I am in serious love with my iPod. I wonder what I ever did without it, and just listening to CDs on a portable player is not the same thing. Let alone that with 30GB I can load more CDs than I could carry, there is all the additional content available. I do not have a video-enabled iPod but then I can't imagine watching video on that teeny screen. But audio-books and podcasts are simply more than I had expected. I just updated my darling with all the regular ones I listen to such as NPR's science and health shows, and the ABC Radio National equivalents and then branched out to look for knitting content. I already knew that Knitcast existed and Knitting Review's podcast. For some reason Cast On's podcast refuses to download and I don't what step of the process is hung up. The first episode of Knitcast I listened to was not impressive. Ann Budd is a designer I know, and I think her spiral bound pattern book is one I have used several times since it covers all sizes and weight of yarn if you just want a generic pattern. (I tend to knit complicated patterns out of plain yarns and plain designs out of fancy yarns so this book comes in handy when you have a yarn you want to show off and just need a basic pattern) But the podcast sound was pretty bad and the questions asked didn't really interest me. Unless someone has an unusual way

they learned to knit like Kaffe Fassett, who learned to knit on a train, finding out that somebody learned from an aunt of a grandmother isn't particularly interesting. I'd like to know what kinds of things a Famous Knitter learned first and what kinds of garments excite them or what designs bore them to tears. If they have a favourite fibre and why. If they like to knit summer things or even like to knit in the summer. I knit all year round and may knit cotton in the winter and wool in the summer (which sorta makes sense if you are knitting for the next season). (BTW, I just saw that Opal has cotton sock yarn and I can't wait to get some!) So I was unimpressed with that interview but I will certainly continue to listen. One of my many health issues is tinnitus, which manifests itself in me as very high frequency whistle/cricket sounds. It is always there but I have checked and it doesn't get better or worse when I am exposed to noise. Actually I was thinking how noisy the footy match was (just in general and including the drunken lout sitting near us who kept yelling for Barry Hall to get back in the goal square) but when we came home the tinnitus was less rather than more. So I was worried for a while that having headphones on most of the time would make it worse, but it doesn't seem to. Listening to a podcast while you are ironing or carding wool is a very pleasant thing to do.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Sometimes yarn shopping can be a hazardous sport, especially if you have certain physical weaknesses. C told me the LYS was having a sale, so of course I had to go check things out to see if I could score a bargain. Their sale bins have been the source of many goodies. So I went and pawed through piles of bags of yarn trying to find something the I liked, that there was enough of to knit a jumper, and that I could afford. Unfortunately, the only stuff I really liked was some Zara but at $10 a ball even at 20% off that was too steep for me when there is plenty in the stash. I saw lots of other, cheaper yarns I liked but there were 7 balls of that and 6 of this. So an hour of standing yielded nothing but 3 balls of sock yarn. The grey is for the Bear and surprisingly he says he wouldn't mind the black/blue/green stripe. This from a man who demands the plainest jumpers I can bring myself to knit. Socks apparently can be any colour. No doubt because he wears elastic sided boots most of the time and they don't show. At any rate I then had to go to the chemist (drugstore) and by the time I got home my legs were screaming. That was Monday. Tues I worked and slogged trolleys of books around despite my legs screaming, and then went out to lunch with J. We had a good long chat and since we were at Canberra's cheese cafe, Silo, I had a goat & ewe cheese plate for lunch and 2 of the 3 cheeses were blue. Served with Silo's delightful bread this was a gourmet lunch. I had watched a couple of episodes of "Cheese slices" on cable and my mouth was waiting for some really nice cheese, a sad weakness when you are trying to watch your weight. Silo's slices are very thin and the blue cheese fills the mouth so you don't mind. By the time I got home my legs were so sore I crawled into bed and stayed there until 8PM and skipped dinner.

I got the newsletter from the Australian Bush Heritage people (see link to right) and their latest acquisition is not all that far from Bendigo. Since we are contemplating retiring to the area, I read it carefully and then though that I should consult them when we are going to look at land. They know how to assess land for things like weed infestations,
damage from grazing, what vegetation is native and what not. This is all new to me and I know very little about Victorian native ecosystems so I had better get advice. I am so looking forward to our trip in July, not just for the wool show, but we have a meeting set up with a real estate agent to start the process of looking for land, and we have lots more exploring in the neighbourhood to do. I found an orchard that grows 10 varieties of apples and a winery that also makes fruit liqueurs so there is lots to find out if this will be our new stomping ground.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Round 10: Not only did the boys win, but we watched them at Manuka Oval in Canberra along with the largest footy crowd ever at Manuka (14,900) . This is another of those "home" games by a non-resident team, in this case the Kangaroos who have made an attempt to become "Canberra's AFL team" except hardly anybody goes except when they play the Swans. Thier contract for this arrangement is up at the end of this season and one of the commentators was so brilliant as to mention that if the Swans played here more often, there would be bigger crowds. Duh. I will admit that the number of Roos supporters has increased over the years altho they are still vastly outnumbered by Swans fans. We had not-wonderful seats, staring into the sun all day but the folks in the shade must have been very chilly. Swans tore away in the first quarter, went to sleep in the second and third, got an earful from Roosy at 3/4 time and came out and wrestled the game back after being down by 37 points. When they play well they are unstoppable and the Roos only got ahead because the Swans played like they didn't care for most of 2 quarters (as well as some really doubtful umpiring calls). I thought it was strange that they were continuing to advertise on TV for people to come out and "support AFL in Canberra" all week when I knew the match was sold out. They meant "support the Roos in Canberra" but I don't think that will make money. Above you see Adam Goodes (at left) kicking for goal, and (at right) some match play with Michael O'Loughlin closest to the camera. As always go here for all the footy details. Those of you unfamiliar with the league may be very confused by the word "Roos." As a collective noun it applied the the (formerly North Melbourne) Kangaroos. As a singular name, and as in "Roosy" it refers to our head coach, Paul Roos. When he was a player, whever he got the ball the crowd would yell "Roooooooos!" which some might confuse people thinking that we were booing. He is immensely popular with fans and players. Everyone has a nickname in footy. Roos becomes Roosy.

And I have washed the socks and now will ponder how to dye them to get them the proper colour for the WW2 uniform. All I can say is that soldiers must have had awfully skinny legs in those days!

Saturday, June 03, 2006

This will not be a long post but I had to pass on this photo for cat-lovers. It was on a page of wacky Japanese design ideas. I think the look on the cat's face sums it up pretty good. "You expect me to dust?"

Also had a mad dash out the back when The Imp decided to follow the Bear outside when he went to hang laundry. Fortunately the smell of the BBQ was so intriguing that she didn't get very far. The thought of her in the big wide world is a terrifying one. She has now gutted the sheep and removed one eye.

I have both bad news and good news. The bad is that there has been a death in the family and I am pretty down about it and the good news is that I finished knitting the WW2 socks. My not jumping up and down should indicate my low feeling at this moment. Getting the news when in the middle of a migraine made everything worse.