Friday, July 28, 2006

First off, how many of you noticed that I didn't buy any yarn in Bendigo (except at the woollen mills and that's just because it's cheaper there)? I fondled some things but just thought about the yummy stuff in the stash and restrained myself. I have accomplished NOTHING today and am feeling cross. Well, I balanced the checkbook and brought it up to date from the trip and finished my article for Fiber Femmes but that doesn't seem like a lot. I put the new fibre away in the stash (The Bear added a new box for me that is almost Rubbermaid coffin sized).

Another poll
Bold the ones you've done..

01. Bought everyone in the bar a drink
02. Swam with wild dolphins
03. Climbed a mountain (not a very big one)
04. Taken a Ferrari for a test drive
05. Been inside the Great Pyramid
06. Held a tarantula (ick)
07. Taken a candlelit bath with someone
08. Said 'I love you' and meant it
09. Hugged a tree
10. Bungee jumped
11. Visited Paris
12. Watched a lightning storm at sea
13. Stayed up all night long and saw the sun rise
14. Seen the Northern Lights
15. Gone to a huge sports game
16. Walked the stairs to the top of the leaning Tower of Pisa
17. Grown and eaten your own vegetables
18. Touched an iceberg
19. Slept under the stars
20. Changed a baby's diaper
21. Taken a trip in a hot air balloon (I want to!)
22. Watched a meteor shower
23. Gotten drunk on champagne
24. Given more than you can afford to charity
25. Looked up at the night sky through a telescope
26. Had an uncontrollable giggling fit at the worst possible moment
27. Had a food fight
28. Bet on a winning horse (greyhound yes, horse, no)
29. Asked out a stranger
30. Had a snowball fight
31. Screamed as loudly as you possibly could
32. Held a lamb
33. Seen a total eclipse
34. Ridden a roller coaster
35. Hit a home run
36. Danced like a fool and not cared who was looking
37. Adopted an accent for an entire day
38. Actually felt happy about your life, even for just a moment
39. Had two hard drives for your computer (3 even)
40. Visited all 50 states
41. Taken care of someone who was shit faced
42. Had amazing friends
43. Danced with a stranger in a foreign country
44. Watched wild whales
45. Stolen a sign
46. Backpacked in Europe
47. Taken a road-trip
48. Gone rock climbing (with my knees?)
49. Midnight walk on the beach
50. Gone sky diving
51. Visited Ireland
52. Been heartbroken longer then you were actually in love
53. In a restaurant, sat at a stranger's table and had a meal with them
54. Visited Japan
55. Milked a cow
56. Alphabetized your cds
57. Pretended to be a superhero
58. Sung karaoke
59. Lounged around in bed all day
60. Posed nude in front of strangers
61. Gone scuba diving
62. Kissed in the rain
63. Played in the mud
64. Played in the rain
65. Gone to a drive-in theater
66. Visited the Great Wall of China
67. Started a business
68. Fallen in love and not had your heart broken
69. Toured ancient sites
70. Taken a martial arts class
71. Played D&D for more than 6 hours straight
72. Gotten married
73. Been in a movie
74. Crashed a party
75. Gotten divorced
76. Gone without food for 5 days
77. Made cookies from scratch
78. Won first prize in a costume contest
79. Ridden a gondola in Venice
80. Gotten a tattoo (I want to)
81. Gone white water rafting
82. Been on television news programs as an "expert"
83. Got flowers for no reason
84. Performed on stage
85. Been to Las Vegas
86. Recorded music (if as part of a choir counts)
87. Eaten shark
88. Had a one-night stand
89. Gone to Thailand
90. Bought a house
91. Been in a combat zone
92. Buried one/both of your parents
93. Been on a cruise ship
94. Spoken more than one language fluently
95. Performed in Rocky Horror.
96. Raised children.
97. Followed your favorite band/singer on tour
98. Created and named your own constellation of stars
99. Taken an exotic bicycle tour in a foreign country
100. Picked up and moved to another city to just start over
101. Walked the Golden Gate Bridge
102. Sang loudly in the car, and didn't stop when you knew someone was looking
103. Had plastic surgery
104. Survived an accident that you shouldn't have survived.
105. Wrote articles for a large publication (only large in its context)
106. Lost over 100 pounds
107. Held someone while they were having a flashback
108. Piloted an airplane
109. Petted a stingray
110. Broken someone's heart (I hope not)
111. Helped an animal give birth
112. Won money on a T.V. game show
113. Broken a bone
114. Gone on an African photo safari
115. Had a body part of yours below the neck pierced
116. Fired a rifle, shotgun, or pistol
117. Eaten mushrooms that were gathered in the wild
118. Ridden a horse
119. Had major surgery
120. Had a snake as a pet
121. Hiked to the bottom of the Grand Canyon
122. Slept for more than 30 hours over the course of 48 hours (i had mono)
123. Visited more foreign countries than U.S. states
124. Visited all 7 continents
125. Taken a canoe trip that lasted more than 2 days
126. Eaten kangaroo meat
127. Eaten sushi
128. Had your picture in the newspaper
129. Changed someone's mind about something you care deeply about
130. Gone back to school
131. Parasailed
132. Petted a cockroach
133. Eaten fried green tomatoes
134. Read The Iliad - and the Odyssey
135. Selected one "important" author who you missed in school, and read
136. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
137. Skipped all your school reunions
138. Communicated with someone without sharing a common spoken language
139. Been elected to public office
140. Written your own computer language
141. Thought to yourself that you're living your dream
142. Had to put someone you love into hospice care
143. Built your own PC from parts
144. Sold your own artwork to someone who didn't know you
145. Had a booth at a street fair
146: Dyed your hair
147: Been a DJ
148: Shaved your head
149: Caused a car accident (technically speaking but it was a bad intersection)
150: Saved someone's life

Thursday, July 27, 2006

The Show et al. I neglected to mention we made a stop at Bendigo Woollen Mills, actually 2 stops because I was so far gone on Saturday I couldn't think straight so we went back on Monday and I bought 1 kg of cream alpaca. Also a 200gm ball of 3 ply grey that I thought for weaving but socks for the Bear sound better, and a ball of their wool/angora blend because it's so soft.

The show has gotten bigger in that there are more tents, etc. set up for commercial exhibits. This is not a fibre festival the way, for example, Rhinebeck is. It is primarily an agricultural show, and the showing and judging of livestock is the reason it is there. It has accumulated other stuff around it. I saw no new sources of fibre than I had seen in the previous 2 years and aside from the tactile and visual experience of seeing fibre, you could do all of this online. Most of the main fibre exhibitors also go to the Canberra wool festival as the Old Bus Depot markets in May. I may go only one day next year as part of a visit to Bendigo and not do the whole shebang.

We looked at all the sheep except the merinos who are in their new exhibit hall, saw the goats, and lots of alpacas. I will be writing an article about the show for Fiber Femmes so I will not go into excrutiating detail here. There seemed to be more alpacas in this show but I wasn't counting. They are all adorable and there seemed to be many more black ones this time. I love looking at the rarer sheep breeds but unfortunately you don't find fleece from these breeds on offer in the commerical sites. I'd love to see Romney or Border Leicester cross fleece but we seem to be drowning in either non-breed identified (no doubt some cross with a merino in there somewhere) or specifically merino. I would have to contact a breeder if I wanted a fleece of a specific breed like Romney or as I did with English Leicester. The coloured sheep folks always have such lovely stuff and I once again succumbed to their goods, buying 2 kg of charcoal grey fleece (see photo at right) which has a staple length of about 5" and tips aren't very bleached. It was labelled as black but, even knowing we have no truly black sheep, I could see silvery hairs in this. The left is alpaca from Petlyn's who also make wool combs. The fleece feels light as air and has some darker streaks thoughout. I do love spinning and wish I had more time to knit so why am I blogging??? I am currently spinning some CVM (California Variegated Mutant) which came in a 1 oz sample of rare breeds I bought at Rhinebeck from Spirit Trail. It is dark brown and is spinning up very finely which I did not expect. I also now have a real inkle loom and now (I hope) can weave with cotton because this loom has a better shed opening than the one I had which could only handle fibres with give like wool and also had a much shorter length for the finished project. I also bought 100 gm lots of mohair/angora, Finn/cashmere, 100% cashmere (white), silk (dyed), Polwarth/silk (dyed), Optim (white) and lots of dyes, both Landscape and Gaywool, which were much cheaper than I found them elsewhere.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

So where have I been for a week? Bendigo, Victoria, for the Australian Sheep and Wool Show. Well, that was Friday and Saturday. Wednesday we drove to Bendigo (ca. 6 hours), Thursday we drove to Melbourne (ca. 2 hours) to go to USA Foods where I stocked up on Jiffy corn muffin mix, Nestle butterscotch chips (and new white & dark chocolate chips!), A&W diet cream soda (they were out of root beer), etc. and went to a mega mall to pick up my new sewing machine that the clever Bear managed to get at a savings of $200. A Brother with probably more stitches than I will ever use but the companies insist on adding stitiches with other features like one-step buttonhole. I will give ever so much more detail and photos of the show in another posting so will just cover the outline here. We walked. A lot. And stood looking and things and talking to people. By the end of Saturday (after lunch) my legs were so sore that the muscles were starting to cramp and my feet were screaming. I had seen almost everything I wanted to altho I didn't take all the photos I had planned but I chose to retire to the caravan park cabin and rest my legs. Sunday woke up feeling really awful, lost my voice, started serious coughing and we decided to come home a day early.

I bought an inkle loom (Ashford), a set of mini combs, half a dark grey fleece (raw), a biggish bag of light grey alpaca, and smaller amounts of Finn/cashmere blend, 100% white cashmere, a small bit of silk, some more Polwarth from Wendy Dennis and when I described the trouble I had with the second lot of her hand-dyed she gave me free about 100 gms of natural Polwarth. Some Optim. Lots of dyes. There were fewer animals this time it is said due to the drought. There were very few angora goats but lots of alpacas. The special breed this year was merino and when you've seem 50 0r 60 merinos, you''ve seen them all. There were a lot more commercial displays selling everything from woks to socks.

We also got some bad news about our plans for relocating there and building a house on 15 acres. The zoning laws in Victoria really only allow "rural residential" developments with lots of 2-5 acres and "rural" which is over 20 acres. I have seen lots of ads for existing homes on the size of land parcel we want but finding vacant one is difficult. We did look at a couple that were in the 10 acre range but cost double what we want to pay but that also might be due to them being on the Melbourne side of town and are appealing to Melbournians. 10 acres was small, because they were close enough to other houses in these "rural residential" developments. Some were flat & treeless, some were very steep with trees. We need to look in other areas and perhaps reconsider the building option and look at existing homes when we are ready. There were many ads for existing homes that sounded just like what we want at lower prices than our home would sell for today, but we will have to see what happens in the years between now and retirement. I still really like Bendigo.

Roumd 16: Swannies soundly beat Richmond and looked good. Last minute inclusion due to injury was a rookie named Heath Grundy who kicked 3 goals. What kind of a name is Heath Grundy for a footy player? Don't care as he was remarkably composed for a 20 year old playing his first match. Kirky (pictured earlier) had a sickening injury when a Richmond player managed to kick him in the head in a high kick and Kirk was out cold. AFL players can easily kick over their heads and Kirky went down hard. Of course, once he came to, he was back out sitting on the bench, but that's the kind of player he is. I discovered that when you are in Victoria footy is everywhere but they forget that there are teams outside Victoria (or try to).

Monday, July 17, 2006

A wet dreary weekend resulted in not much activity from anyone. I spent a lot of time trawling real estate ads to no great result. I plied the 2 bobbins of grey wool from the Brown Sheep mill ends and finished a second bobbin of English Leicester. I managed to generate a bit more enthusiasm for the cardigan and knit solidly on it one evening. I also knit about an inch and a half on the second sock (the mate to the blue/purple Trekking one).

Quite a bit of furor this week in the Swans due to Nick Davis publicly objecting to being dropped from the side, which is something you are not supposed to do.Only idiots like Jason Akermanis do that. He seems to have calmed down now. He hasn't been playing all that wonderfully and we need him to kick goals and he hasn't been. The boys lost again to West Coast Saturday night. They did seem to play more as a team than they have in a while but still couldn't kick straight. The umpiring was appalling and even the commentators noticed that our dear friend McLaren
in one quarter gave 9 free kicks to the Weagles and none to the Swans. The Swans were leading by 36 points about midway but the Eagles woke up in the third quarter while the Swans couldn't get a thing to go their way. The mid-field was trying hard but the ball wasn't going across the goal line. In the end they lost by 2 points in the dying seconds.

Book report: finished White Mughals by William Dalrymple.
It was an interesting story but not the one I was expecting. Instead of being a summary of how some group of British in India adopted the native lifestyle, it was the story of a particular cross-cultural love affair, in sometimes excuriating detail. While the detail was impressive in its scholarship and was useful in painting a picture of the cultures in contact, it didn't make for gripping reading. Instead of a survey we were told of one story as an example, and a particularly sad one. What was interesting to me who has read a fair bit about the Raj was that this all occurred in the early days of the British in India, when the kingdoms were still theoretically independent. After the 1820's this changed and after the Mutiny in 1857 everything changed completely. The kingdom in detail was Hyderabad and I did learn that my favourite Indian dish (biryani) originates there. I'd love to eat may way through India if I though my delicate digestion could handle it. I have no problems with Indian restaurant food but the real thing might be different. My new BBBB (Big boring bedtime book) is Voyages of Delusion ; the quest for the northwest passage by Glyn Williams.

Friday, July 14, 2006

There is an absolutely wonderful spinning tutorial on FiberLife which says everything I wish I had been told when learning to spin. I am in a rut of wanting to spin much more than I want to knit and I have this cardigan that I promised somebody I'd knit. I pull it out and knit on it for about 45 minutes and then am lured back to the wheel. Maybe I need to hide the wheel or something.

The Bear has done all the comparison shopping on a new sewing machine and we will get one when we go to Melbourne next week. A Brother that of course does all sorts of fancy stitches I will never use, but also has one step buttonholes and a drop in bobbin. My cheap Singer was OK 15 years ago and I have a vintage Singer in a bentwood case but that is only for quilting. I bought it for $20 in a yard sale and had it refurbished.

It was agreed by all concerned at work that the stuff I am working on now is Important and therefore more valuable than cataloguing the bloody pamphlets. Thank G, because it's much more interesting and rewarding to untangle a mess and sort out a whole bunch of Real Books instead of cataloguing political pamphlets and teaching aids that clutter up the pamphlets and may be Important fram a Knowledge view but cleaning up Book Messes makes our existing material truly available to the reader and frees up shelf space which we desperately need. I am basically trawling the stacks looking for stuff that has been given a geographical Dewey ending and looking for the magic 994 which is Australia. I am up to 331

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Does one sock qualify as a FO? Here is the first of the Trekking socks. I needed to finish something to make myself feel better. You may notice safety pins on the toes. Instead of finishing toes when I finish the sock I transfer the stitches to safety pins until I finish the second sock. I am one of those people who hates Kitchener stich (and don't tell me it's easy) so I turn them inside out, transfer the stitches back onto needles and do a 3-needle bindoff which I think is better anyway. Some of my vintage sock patterns even state that it is the preferred method, so there. Altho the pattern of the wool hides it well, the top is a boken rib (one row 2x2 rib, one row plain stocking stitich). I am not a person who tries on socks as she goes, since I knit to measurements, so you will only see socks once finsished.

I also got in the post yesterday a package from Elann with 10 balls of Portofino in red and a pattern for a summer top. I am a devote of Classic Elite and have knit so many of their patterns I've lost count. I ordered this forgetting I already had a red cotton top in Classic Elite Newport Cotton, but you can always use another cotton top. Portofino is almost a cotton blend boucle and seems very soft and fluffy. I ordered from Fuzzy Mabel some cotton sock yarn and 2 Elizabeth Lavold pattern books, figuring I needed patterns more than more yarn altho I really like this Portofino....

Spent yesterday working and listening to podcasts. I love NPR and Radio National podcasts and Andrew Denton's podcast of his show, this week it was Chris Martin of Coldplay (do I have to say I am a huge fan of the band?) and, as usual, it was a lively conversation. I also like NPR's Hidden kitchens as it brings back memories of all the pancake breakfasts, spaghetti dinners and other eating experiences of the US that don't seem to exist here. The only common ones are a sausage sizzle and a lamington drive. A sausage sizzle is simply somebody grilling generic sausages usually with onions and served on a bun or sometimes with just a slice of bread around it. Australians are extremely addicted to sausages. If you don't care to know what went into them, they are one of the cheapest meals you can make (before lamb chops went up in price). There are also many varieties of flavoured sausages from beef & onion to turkey with sage. My favourite was "traditional satay sausages" which gives you an idea of how far Asian tastes have permeated Australian cuisine if one can use "cuisine" when talking about sausages. A Lamington is a cube of sponge cake usually about 2" on a side that has been covered in chocolate icing (a thin cover, not a frosting) and rolled in dessicated coconut which is small, dry flakes. In days gone by, mothers made them to sell for fund-rasiers. These days if there is a drive to sell them, they are usually commercially made. As you might guess from the description they aren't all that simple to make and are best made in quantity.

My annoyance of the week was discovering that my sewing machine was broken again. I had it fixed relatively recently for the same fault (bobbin won't wind) and I am tired of pumping money into a machine that was cheap to begin with. I think I am in the market for a new one.

Monday, July 10, 2006

I haven't posted in a while as I have been feeling rather down and tend to turn inward when this happens. I have finished carding the white of the spotted fleece into nice fluffy clouds. I have almost filled a bobbin with EL quite finely spun. I have knit only on a sock while watching "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" on DVD. The Swannies lost to Adelaide and I didn't even watch. I finished reading Janet Evanovich's latest Twelve Sharp which was good as usual and am reading the latest Kathy Reich. As a matter of fact I am going to curl up under the doona (no doubt with a cat) and read it now. Am feeling sore and grumpy so I won't bore the world with it.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Where have I been? Monday I worked my buns off. Tues I slept all day with a migraine. Weds I worked my buns off. Thursday I worked my buns off. This morning I pried myself out of bed in order to be at my GP's office when he arrived at 8 AM and he phoned in sick. So I came home and crawled into bed and went back to sleep. I have been feeling vaguely headachey, nauseated and lacking in energy. But my hands don't hurt! Dry weather is good for one thing at least. And now you get photos courtesy of my wonderful new camera. First off is the scarf I knit for my MIL from Plymouth Eros which is a ladder or railroad yarn or shiney little flecks of colour with black binder. I had already done one for me in blues and purples which was admired so I offered another. 6mm needles, 25 stitches, knit till you run out of yarn. BTW, I think you will see a lot of the bench on my front porch and my sofa since they are in areas which get natural light. Next we have the famous WW2 socks which I dyed this past weekend with blue to counteract the orange that was showing instead of brown. They have a faint blue cast and the dye didn't make it all the way into the ribs but at least they aren't orange any more.

And lastly we have English Leiscester. I was casting about for what to spin next. I found some more of the Wendy Dennis hand-dyed Polwarth in a different colourway and said Yippee! Then I found out that it was partially felted, full of noils and VM and took an incredible amount of monkey grooming before spinning. Sometimes i really like monkey grooming as it's a mindless task, but I felt like spinning. So I pulled out the bag of EL.
Would you believe I bought 2 or 3 kilos of it? In general it was very clean and when washed is these lovely glossy locks. You can spin from the locks, flicking each end open with a flick carder (dog brush) but I find spinning each lock tedious so I do the mini-roving technique taught by Mabel Ross which turns a batch of 3-4 locks into a little roving which is easy to spin. I had some already prepared which I spun last night and a bag full of locks to flick into rovings. I also have a kilo commercially prepared and on big bobbins which take up a lot of room in the stash. When I go to Bendigo I am buying a real inkle loom and I intend weaving straps with the EL.

So besides work (cleaning up books in 329.994 and 570.994 (Australian politics and Australian natural history to those Dewey-challenged) and working on my 500 page printout of invalid name headings), sleep, and fibre, not much has happened here. We are having frosty and foggy mornings around freezing that by noon have cleared to bright sun and blue skies and temperatures around 50F.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

A short post because I can't stand not to tell the world about my newest pet, pictured at left. A Nikon D50 digital SLR. Both of us did a lot of research on various Nikon digital cameras (I am a Nikon loyalist from way back for their quality) and had a list of 3 potentials with an idea of prices before we headed off. I had seen a Nikon SLR at Hardly Normal the last time we were in but I didn't notice what model it was but did note the price ($1000). Turns out that that was one of the models we were looking for. The compact camera we looked at was just so small and hard for me to operate. I can't see miniscule buttons or mouse print that is crammed onto a compact camera. My old camera was a Kodak 3MGP with a very crappy flash and was very slow to respond. Once the staff at HN put batteries in the D50 I turned it on and instantly took a photo of the Bear that was better than anything I had ever taken with the old camera and I hadn't even read the instructions yet. Plus it was so fast it was practically instaneaous. The price was equal to what I would have paid at any discount joint, or even my old favourite camera shop 42nd Street Photo, which where I ordered everything in the States. I have a zoom lens (and my old lenses may fit this), it's light, comes with rechargeable lithium batteries, takes the same flash card as the Kodak, does wonderful close-ups (couldn't do any with the Kodak). So, I am happy as a pig in mud and you will all get lots more of MY photos and not those copied from elsewhere.

Round 13: It was not a pretty match and they looked very flat in all too many places but the Swannies beat Fremantle last night at home at the SCG. Barry Hall was double-teamed and maybe (if I can think deviously as Roosy might) he was put up front to draw Freo players away and actually give Hally a rest while other people played harder. Mick finally stood up and did well and there were stand-outs from McVeigh and Schneider. The sour note was Crouchy broke his record for number of successive matches played, but some folks deserved a rest. Ablett, Bevan, and Vogels did well being blooded. For some reason the commentators thought playing Lewis Roberts-Thompson as ruckman an astonishing stroke of brilliance but I can only wonder, why not? He's tall, muscular, has turned out to be a quick learner. Kicking accuracy still not good enough. But a win is a win.