Saturday, February 19, 2011

Today you get photos and not much more. Above is my crepe myrtle which has bloomed gorgeously for the first time in I can't remember how many years. It's amazing what getting rain for a change does. It now obviously needs a hard prune but I was afriad to do that when it was barely hanging on with the drought. Of course, I am also drowning in weeds which I can't seriously attack, but you win some, you lose some.

To the right is the BFL I mentioned on Dec. 30, one bobbin full

and some of the unspun roving so you can see what
I started with. It's a delight to spin and I hope I get enough to do something nice with it. Lovely shades of green. The other spinning has been alpaca: I've spun and plied a hank of white, and I have a bobbin full of brown. There will always be alpaca. I have the last bag of white to sort through and it has had moths in it. I am throwing out more than I keep and have added moth balls to the bag. Fortunately all my stash but a little is in plastic tubs and safe from insects.

To the left is a close-up of the socks I just finished out of the hand-spiun merino & bamboo. The way the colours mix and flow is really gorgeous and completely derived from the spinning and knitting process. I have to say it's prettier than any store-bought (IMHO) but store-bought is more uniform in thickness and has extra stregthening in it (usually nylon). I didn't reinforce these and we'll see how they wear, but I haven't yet worn out any socks. That's the virtue (?) of having many pairs of socks: you don't wear any one pair too heavily and they stay "healthy" longer. I am patching a previously knit pair at the moment (botched the heel when they were knit) and then will start on a pair of store bought yarn socks. I do have a stash of sock yarn that's a bit intimidating. In some ways this is like when I used to make all my own clothes. I didn't have some of the little finishing details that commercially sold clothes had, but they were my choice of fabric and colour and design. I always knew I was wearing one of a kind, and it could have been a Vogue designer pattern and now what was on the racks in a department store. I had a white linen Mary Quant design in 1969 that was so cool.

I was hoping to post a picture of the cabled vest but it needs blocking and I just haven't gotten at it. It's finished, just not photogenic.

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

I saw my surgeon last Thurs and am finally scheduled in to have it opened up and fixed -- but not till Mar. 28th. That leaves me with almost 2 more months of pain and reduced mobility (plus another month or so afterwards). A little Googling showed me that patellar clunk syndrome, which sounds all too bizarre, actually occurs in about 4% of TKR patients and it caused by a build up of scar tissue on the back of the patella. That part is easily fixed. Of course we don't know what went wrong to begin with, but my rheumatologist figured it out in 15 minutes yesterday. I hadn't really liked her after the avuncular manner of my previous dr, but she proved with her knee assessment and willingness to do battle with the pharmacy gods that she is good. My GP has gone away for 2 weeks without notice, and I was reluctant to try and explain my need for drugs to a stranger at his clinic, so I asked my rheumatologist if she'd do it, which would also save ma a wait in the clinic. She got me my scripts and saved me another painful outing. I've ordered groceries delivered today becaus I just couldn't face pushing a trolley (shopping cart) around the supermarket.

Sort of a book report: I started as my new BBBB Angel in the Whirlwind by Benson Bobrick to get a fresh course on Revolutionary America. I had to put it aside because his description of colonial era American did not match what I knew from my own genealogy. It was the same "the settlers came and settled" and even that there was not much interaction between colonies. I now know that between arrival at Plymouth and the revolutionary war my ancestors moved from Massachusetts to Rhode Island to Connecticut to New York and up the Hudson. Maybe the various governments didn't converse but the people were on the move. I've tracked one line back to the early Dutch settlement of Albany which is about as "ethnic" as my tree gets. From my grandfather's WWI draft registration, I found he worked for a company which made machinery for the newfangled cardboard boxes that were replacing wooden boxes. From his WWII draft registration I found he never became an American citizen but remained Canadian. How he got from Canada to Michigan and why he sold the farm in Michigan and moved to Niagara Falls, NY, is still a mystery. Before I came to Australia and honed my ear to new dialects of English, I would have said Canadians sound just like Americans. Now I hear differences in my surgeon (he's Canadian) and on TV. I watched a doco on David Thompson who explored and mapped the western half of Canada and realized how much Americans don't know about Canada. Since I'm carrying a few drops of Ontario blood, I should learn some more.

New BBBB: Deluxe by Dana Thomas about the popularizing of luxury brands. Non-bedtime reading is Michael Connolly's The Reversal on my Kindle and Ken MacLeod's Newton's Wake, where I am sounding out Glaswegian in the far future.

In typical Aussie weather behavior we went from 38C to 9c in a week. My poor tomato plants!

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

While it's gradually approaching 38C or close to 100F, I am SO glad I installed air conditioning last summer. I just got inside from hanging a load of sheets on the Hills Hoist and this weather can dry them in about 15 minutes. I have been resting my knee, frankly, because it hurts. I never know when the knee cap is going to move freely and when it's going to stuck and then clunk. I can walk alright but any distance is tasking. I can't wait till Thursday and my surgeon's review, and hopefully a date for surgery. I reluctantly cancelled the weaving course. In fact, in my search for a project showed me so many projects I could do on my own if I just was physically able. That was the plan for retirement anyway. The thing on the loom is no longer of interest, so, when I am able, I will cut it off and rewarp it.

The yarn above is my most recent, the MW merino from Laughing Rat. It will be socks. I have finished one of the socks from the merino and bamboo recently spin. I didn't maintain a fine enough gauge when I spun it so I had to go up a size in needles from a 1 to a 2, which I view as a spinning failure. Because I had an alpaca scarf as a weaving goal i am spinning white alpaca at the moment. Very glossy and long locks. I have no idea how it will turn out when plied as yarn.

Bits and pieces from recent musing and activities: heard Timbuk3 on the radio yesterday which prompted me to go and look up their albums on iTunes and download my favourite of their songs "Sample the Dog." Train's song "Soul Sister" made me go look for Mr Mister/Richard Page and found on his website an additional Mr Mister album RCA declined to release after their 2 big LPs back in the '80's. And Richard had a new solo album so had to buy these. His solo album Shelter Me is a favourite. That doesn't mean I don't listen to more current music, from Eric Clapton to Pearl Jam to Snow Patrol. Watched an Aussie movie set in India called The Waiting City on DVD last night. About a young couple going to pick up an adopted baby and the resulting tension and fractures while they wait. Worth a look if you find it. February means the return to prime time of all the American TV I usually watch from Glee to NCIS. I had been filling my evenings with Foxtel, either documentaries like the 4-parter on Captain Cook who is a god to Australia, or just police dramas like Lewis, or the weird Being Human on UKTV. I admit to being a video/TV addict. Since it's when I knit or spin, why not? I am having trouble still with my contact lenses, mostly them getting stuck to my eye so I have to constantly remind myself to blink. Makes reading hard sometime. Almost finished Museum, which really a series of monologues from staff talking about whatever they liked so very uneven and gives very little in the way of detail. I hope that Rogue's Gallery will be better. Flood ended very improbably and I was not impressed. I have started Newton's Wake by Ken Macleod.

Just to remind you that footy season is looming, a bit of eye candy in the form of a hot and sweaty Swan Adam Goodes. The NAB Cup (preseaon) setup has 3 games played between the Swans and the 2 new clubs in Blacktown in Feb, but I think we'll give that a miss since it's an all day affair and I feel for the players if it's as hot as it is now.

Given the scant feedback I got on the fate if the blog, which was all positive and affirming, I guess I'll keep emptying my brain of trivia periodically. Perhaps since most of the feedback was from non-fibre folks, I'll keep that at a lower level, but still post on it, because it's very important to me if not to you.