Saturday, September 30, 2006

Pre Grand Final trivia to conquer the jitters.

Barry Hall has lucky underwear. (so do I)

Ben Matthews has a tattoo of a tiger guarding cubs on his side.

Brett Kirk is the most effective Buddhist midfielder in the AFL.

Michael O'Loughlin's partner gave birth to their first child the week he kicked his 400th goal.

Paul Roos met his American wife in a bar in San Diego.

I have been a fan of the Swans since I saw my first AFL match on ESPN in 1982. I had a team poster on the wall of my office in Ohio which inspired the girls and intimidated the boys. When the deputy Director General of the NLA visited me there on business we spent the time talking football and he seemed to be trying to sell me on the idea of living in Canberra.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

I'm not going to write a lot today but give you some pretty piccies to look at. This is a very small bit of the Wisteria which covers the entrance to the backyard and the driveway. The smell is heavenly. I kept killing wisteria in Ohio as we were right on the border of its climate zone. Here it is rampant.

Here are the Cotton fun socks. Not very exciting; blue, grey and black but I don't wear wild socks every day.

Here is the photo of the red socks as promised. A slightly different take on self patterning from Jawolle. And I was utterly flabberghasted to find in the middle of the yarn sausage the little spool to the right with is reinforcing thread. Since the yarn is about 18% nylon already, I'm not certain it needs it but I'll give it a whirl when I make it to the heel. One of the podcasters I listen to said she was so over self patterning yarn. I am getting that way, because htey all make the same type of pattern. Regia Ringel makes stripes but other wise it's all fake fairisle and I'm getting a bit tired of it too. The glorious colourways that are available from places like Mountain colors or such cost too much for me. Monday is a public holiday and I am taking the following Tues off so I have until next Thurs to play. It's too early to do anything serious outside but weed so I intend dyeing, putting something throught the inkle loom and maybe carding some of the washed wool or start spinning something new. I have removed all the bits and pieces from bobbins and now have a lot of miscellaneous bits of wool.Felting too maybe

Monday, September 25, 2006

No prizes for guessing where we were on Friday night. Telstra Stadium watching my Swannies thrash "the purple people from the west" as they were described by some newpaper reporter. There were very few fans of the purple people in the 61,000 plus folks in attendance which I guess isn't surprising. The team came through the match with no injuries and all the forwards scored well, B Hall with 6 goals and R O'Keefe and M O'Loughlin with 4 a piece. They played very sloppy footy for the first half of the match before they got their act together, but never looked in doubt of winning. Now that West Coast beat Adelaide in the other match it will be a repeat of last year's Grand Final and I think we should be favourites to win the big one. My friend J and I decided that going to the Grand Final was just out of our reach financially. Not have a couple of thousand dollars lying around to spend in an ultimately frivolous manner. If it's like last year, the Grand Final crowd was heavily biased toward Sydney anyway.

I am still quite tired. All the walking we did both in going to the match and on Saturday in going into the city on the train to do some shopping really made my legs hurt. Don't know what I can do about it; I think it's a combo of FMS, chronic circulatory problems in my legs that have been bothering me for 30 years, and just not being used to walking so far on hard surfaces. Actually standing is worse than walking and you do a lot of standing while waiting for trains and/or shopping. Did cast on and knit on the new red/black & white wool/cotton socks. Photos to follow.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Today I picked up a package from Cabin Cove Mercantile (2 thumbs up for speed of service altho they enclosed a little sachet of lavender which ticked off Quarantine) containing some superwash fingering weight (read sock) merino yarn in a lovely subtle combinations of grey, and a case for my dpns. This was the first case I've seen that wasn't horribly expensive and it's pretty basic but in a flamboyant palm tree print. Which leads me to whine about dpns. I have tried other needles than bamboo and keep coming back to them. I got some sexy rosewood needles made in India which had nice sharp points. Then one broke; then the points developed little spurs that caught on the wool; then the second one broke. These are size 1's which is what I generally knit socks on. I won't try them again. Size 1's seem to be a problem to many folks. I don't even try Brittany Birches in 1's because they are so easily broken (or bent which is a bit weird). I also tried Pony Pearls and although they are plastic with a steel core, the tip of one broke off. So I guess it's Plymouth and Clover bamboos forever unless somebody has another option.

On the home front I worked in the garden on Sunday and got the berry bushes fertilized and mulched (no more pile of leaves in the driveway), weeded some, took the cat for a walk, disposed of the remains pruned from the pear tree. While I was out there I saw a new bird for our backyard, a spotted pardalote, or rather a pair. They are really tiny but since they were not twittering and in a flock like silvereyes I strained to pick out enough features so I could look them up in the book when back inside. While the photo definitely shows why they are called spotted, it doesn't show the reddish buff on the male's chin and under pants. When I came hers of cource every bird was a new bird, but now we are running out of new things for this area besides the invisible ones (those that you hear every time you go into the bush but don't often see). According to the web-site the photo came from, the pardalote is an altitudinal migrant, that is, it migrates up the mountains and down. We have seen them before at Tidbinbilla but not in our backyard. We also went to the hardware/garden store where I bought 4 new ivy-leaf geraniums (or pelargoniums if you want to be pedantic) to replace those that died over the winter, some herbs and some tomato plants. It is way too early for tomatoes but some I just buy when I see them and keep until it's safe to plant (early Nov.).

Friday, September 15, 2006

My readers might think that not a day goes by without a bit of fibre stuff arriving in the mail. Sometimes it feels that way. On Wednesday I got Colourful Knitwear Design from Amazon. It's a collection of articles from Threads, from when Threads still did more than sewing. Lots of wonderful Ideas and examples. One that used bits and pieces including embroidery floss and other "nontraditional" knitting fibre. I have still in the back of my head the plan to knit something from my boxes of surplus needlepoint yarn but haven't gotten around to designing it. It will be intarsia or stripes since there are limited seasons for heavy Fair Isle jumpers here.

I also got 400 gm of beige raw alpaca from an ebay source. I haven't spun alpaca yet but I am eager to try. That's one of the reasons I bought those combs in Bendigo. I was flipping through EZ's Knitting workshop last night to check to see if that's the one with the top down yoke sweater in it and it is. The lightbulb over my head went on this morning and I remembered I have some Jumbuck wool in the stash, plenty of white and smaller amounts of 2 shades of natural brown. I had't had a plan for it but now I do. Faux Scandinavian yoke sweater with brown on white. Hey, it's so dry here that if is snowed, the flakes might be brown. It occasionally rains mud.

Today my spindle from Carolina Homespun arrived. I am both excited and apprehensive about learning a new technique that involves co-ordination. Fingers crossed. I was watching The worst jobs in history on the ABC on Sunday and the only female work demonstrated was grinding grain, but there was a person in the background spinning on a spindle. If people have been doing for thousands of years, I should be able to, right?

We have our tickets to the Swans final next Friday (the 22) and motel booked near a train station. The Bear almost knocked my socks off by saying he would be willing to take public transport into the Sydney CBD on Saturday. Separate him from his car? Never happened before.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

This image shows the culminating moment in the Swans one point victory over West Coast in Perth on Saturday night. Mick had just kicked the winning goal while running through the goal square and right up to the Weagles cheer squad where he, slightly pumped, let out his enthusiasm on them. Wonderful moment. Really gritty, hard fought match, which every match against WC is. But Roosy is playing head games again and saying he knows how to beat the Weagles at their own game, which one has to admit, we did despite several players being injured. Kirk was playing on a sprained ankle; our ruckman had a badly dislocated finger. But they strap 'em up and on they go. Supposedly the intensity of the match solidified the team into The Bloods mentality and when they are playing feeling like that they are hard to beat. So we have a home prelimininary (semi) final Friday week, unfortunately a night match at Telstra Stadium and I just read that the tickets are pricey but we still want to go.

I am pretending that yesterday was just another day because I still after five years cannot bear to think about that day without breaking down so I have to bury it a while longer.

I washed more fleece on the weekend and this time I pulled the tips of the locks open and washed the net bags in the laundry tub so I could see how dirty the water was and it came out beautifully clean. Little longer fibres in this batch. I was preparing more fleece to wash while watching TV last night and at one point looked down to see the Imp eating the other end of the bit of wool I was working on. Ick! Don't eat raw fleece, you stupid cat.

I was listening to Brenda Dayne on Cast-on today at work and she has an uncanny ability to choose music for her interludes that just grabs me. Twice now I have been forced to immediately track down the artist (at CDbaby) and buy the record. She seems to fall for the same bluesy, from the heart, singer/songwriters that tickle my musical fancy as well. My musical tastes are eclectic (I don't like opera or maudlin country) so we go from early Beatles to the latest Aussie rock to world music or the occasional new age-ish. My preferred genre is what I call power pop, altho the music literati have broken it down in to several overlapping and confusing sub-genres. On the other hand I worship at the altar of Eric Clapton and like to sing along to Billy Idol. Another reason I love my iPod is that it's all there whenever the need arises (assuming I've been organized enough to load it onto the iPod in the first place).

Friday, September 08, 2006

A week punctuated by lack of sleep and a chronic sore throat. I think I have found the cause of my lack of sleep and its name is The Senior Cat. While for the most part she sleeps next to me, she also wakes me up several times a night. Sometimes she walks around on my pillow and purrs at me. Sometimes she wants to go out (either a potty break or a snack) and then wants to come in again. Then she wants out for good around 5AM. These disruptions to my sleep cycle have been doing me in. I have kept her out for two nights and have had the first uninterrupted nights' sleep in weeks. Sleep is absolutely essential to FMS people and I was getting very tired of falling asleep while watching the news because I couldn't sleep at night. I have no cure for the sore throat. Watch this space.

In the mail this week has come the above sock yarn that screams to be knitted. It came from Simply Sock Yarn and accompanied some rather boring one colour Regia cotton. I am still knitting the second Cotton Fun sock so it will have to wait. I also got som thing called Dragon Waste from Mountain Shadow Ranch from their ebay store. $12US for 14 oz super wash wool mill ends. The colours range from red to aqua to black. There is plenty for several pairs of socks.

A box from Amazon arrived today with EZ's Knitting workshop which I just hadn't gotten around to buying. Also Knit it Now which I should have known by the fact that it was a Martingale publication is the same sweater knit in several different yarns (all expensive). Why don't I learn? There were 3 very positive reviews so I bought. Maybe it will prove me wrong. On the other hand No pattern knits by Pat Ashforth & Steve Plummer is the best modular book I've seen (and I've bought quite a few) because it goes beyond the novelty of knitting shapes and putting them together, although that is covered in detail. It's loaded with photos with lots of detail on every aspect of modular knitting and then goes into design with a whole chapter on colour and only a few patterns at the end. I feel more confident about what to do with bits and pieces in the stash. In fact I have a few things already put together in my mind.

I also bought a used copy of Hand spinning: art and technique by Allen Fannin. I know I have checked this book out of the Guild library but it just has so much stuff in it that paying $10 for a used copy I consider an investment in the reference library. It also covers handspindling which I shall be trying soon.

What is with books? Why can't I resist them? I have a bookcase next to my chair where I blog that contains my personal reading matter. I have a solid shelf of oversized chraft books, not just knitting but other fibre crafts such as needlepoint, quilting, dyeing, and weaving. I just did a weed-out of books bought in a fit of enthusiasm that I know I won't use and donated them to the library. Above that are 2 shelves of regular sized books (octavo to librarians) that are double shelved (two rows one behind the other,) the top one small mass market paperbacks, the lower hardcovers and trade paperback. These are all my "current reading" which ranges from science fiction to the history of the Spanish Armada. And I bought 2 new sci fi this weekend. When do I think I am going to read them? I read a review or stumble on something on Amazon or see a featured new novel in Dymocks and the plastic goes zing!

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Just a brief post as I am off to the dentist. My article on the WWII socks project has been published in Fiber Femmes! The image quality ain't so hot but it's there!

Saturday, September 02, 2006

We may have created a monster. The Imp, seen here with her current favourite toy, a gold twist-tie, was held down while all her nails were clipped, since we were both getting tired of being shredded in passing. Then we held her down and put the collar and leash on her and took her for a stroll in the back yard. She did nothing much except sniff things, eat grass (what is it with cats & grass?) and wander around. She wanted to visit the scrap of wasteland that is the corridor between our house and the one next door which is all of about 8' wide, I assume because that's what my bedroom window looks at. When she was gathering herself to jump over the fence, I picked her up and brought her back around to the main backyard. More wandering, sniffing, tasting things (do NOT eat ivy), having ants run up her legs but no excitement shown nor particular interest in anything. So she was eventually gathered up and brought inside. Whence began lurking at the backdoor and howling. For a long time. I never knew she could make such noise as it has been single yowls to this point. I think it's one of those cases of "I can't have it, so therefore I want it."

Today in the mail I got a box of Philosopher's Wool from the Neverending Yarn that I ordered when they were having a sale. I figure, I've got the book, I've got the wool so I should be able to produce one of their sweaters. No it's not the finest Shetland but when I calculated costs of buying wool to make a colourwork jumper it all came out to be more than I can afford. I got this for half price because it was odds and ends. I will spin some of the white wool in the stash sport weight once I figure out I can do this. If Knitpicks would only ship overseas...

Friday, September 01, 2006

Long time no post. Well, life (and work) go on. I am still recovering from the flu and the Bear has got it too but refuses to give in to it. I had to power-nag to get him to even take cold medication which he admitted did make him feel better. Men. Can't live with them, can't live without them (at least I can't). I have been serially monogamous for 36 years and I just like being married.

Book report: I finished Voyages of Delusion, which was my BBB. I found it all very educational because you aren't taught a lot about the finer detail of European exploration of northern North America. We all learn about the myth of the Northwest Passage but not the nitty-grityy of how it was un-discovered, which is what this book covers. It also goes into the detail of the political climate in Europe and some of the rationale behind these voyages. Here we meet "theoretical geographers", those who drew imaginary maps and then sent people out to find the lands they had drawn on the map. Such was the search for Terra Australis, which Cook debunked (someone had imagined there were 5 million people living on this theoretical continent!). So there are lots of maps showing a passage from Hudson Bay to the Pacific through imaginary lakes. Not only were the lakes imaginary but they mis-estimated the continent's width by 1000 miles and knew nothing about the Rocky Mountains. In all, very interesting. Not riveting but that's why it's a BBB.

S's Christmas jumper has the front finished and I am starting on the back. Knitting for children is fun because the project goes fast. I finished the first of my Meielenweit Cotton Fun socks and cast on the second. I use a technique for wide sock tops of casting on double the number of stitches needed and then knitting 2 together on the first row of ribbing. The Bear has diabetes and his socks must be loose. I am spinning some left over purple wool and trying for further fineness. I have won 2 ebay auctions, one for 50 gms of plucked white cashmere and one for some cream alpaca. The cashmere arrived yesterday and is lovely. The vendor apologized for some VM by giving me an extra 10 gms! Much longer staple than I expected from cashmere, but the ladies at the Bendigo show cashmere tent said short fibre is not a characteristic of Australian grown cashmere. This seems to prove it.

I've also become intrigued by spindles. I adore my Roberta but it can be tetchy about draw in and I have my concerns about spinning short fibres on it. I like the idea of the portability of a spindle and it's something I could take anywhere, like socks are. (BTW, I am reading Stephanie's Knitting Rules! and everything she says about sock knitting is true. Especially the addictive nature and the fact that sock knitters don't count sock wool as part of their stash. I went through the entire craft fair saying "there is sock yarn over there but I'm not looking") So today I took myself off (electronically) to Carolina Homespun and ordered a spindle, and while I was there, a book and a sample of bamboo.