Saturday, October 31, 2009

Blogtoberfest Distractions

My attention may have been diverted from Blogtoberfest during the month.
The addition of Spinning lessons to my calendar (and the practice) has added additional complexity to the scheduling of my day. Knitting has definitely suffered.
Below are today's Bobbins (2 plyed on the left and the most recent spin on the right)
I am really feeling that I am getting more consistency (and less slub)

Of course Spinning has now meant that I have an new reason to acquire fibre. Below are some gems from this week.

The distraction hasn't completely meant I have stopped thinking about knitting. I managed to pick up some Knitter's Addiction Cashmere in 2 ply and 4 ply. (Lace projects anyone?)

The final distraction or household consumption has been Dh construcing the ambitious Halloween Costume (featured below). Make shift hoops and ghoulish white makeup finished the effect.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Missing the Blue Moon.

When we moved we left behind two nearly established Blue Moon Rose bushes. We have yet to replace them. They were both gifts (from dh) and I miss seeing them bloom (and having the passers-by pinch them before we get to pick them!).

They are most definitely my favourite rose for their lavender tinge.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Spinning Spinning Spinning and a Good Cup of Tea

Today has been a busy day Markets, Shops, Rain but best of all I have managed to Spin 3 bobbins worth. I am starting to get more control (not so much slub happening). I have enough of the Dark Blue Fibre to spin another bobbin. My thoughts are then to ply the light and dark together.

I also caught up with Miss Fee and we headed to Petty Cash for a little chat a little knitting and a pot of tea (and perhaps some Pear and Raspberry Bread and a Muffin)! We talked crochet as well as knitting and spinning.

Just one Question - are we sure tomorrow is a work day? I want to stay home and Spin some more!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Granny Blanket Love

When my grandmother on my mother's side passed away about 8 years ago the whole family were offered the chance to pick one or two things from her house. There was only one thing I really wanted (well 2).

I asked for the two rugs she had made that always sat on the backs of the chairs in her front room. My mother mentioned she still had the one my Grandmother had made for me. So she bought the two of them home for me after they had cleared the house and my old one was liberated from my mother's linen closet. (They are pictured above with the one made for me in the middle). These rugs remind me of being at both my grandmother's houses with an open fire and snuggled on the couch under the rugs, as well as the love she put into the one she gave me. My family now make extensive use of them. Rugs of this kind are sprinkled through my mother's family and friends home all made by my grandmother.

My cousins eldest daughter (who had learnt to bake from my grandmother) took all her kitchen utensils as she was moving out of home and family who visit are always reminded that she made that using Gran Ryan's cake tins or pans. Two of my brothers took some shaped mirrors from the fifties that had always been in the bedrooms at her houses.

None of the items we wanted were particularly valuable they just had strong memories. I never really mastered crochet I can do a chain for a cast-on or an edge but generally it is not an art I practice. That said I do appreciate there is work involved and in most-cases some genuine love.

My Mother's Climbing Rose at the Old House

This was grown from a cutting from my mother's climbing rose. This is the house we lived in until the middle of last year. We walked past this morning on the way to the markets.

I miss the roses from our old house.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Spinning and the Bloody Cat

I have managed to find space and time to practice my spinning this evening (I found Foxtel's VH1 Red Select choose from 80's Party or 90's party or 00's Party for background music) and am starting to feel like I am getting somewhere. Still inconsistent but more consistent than I was...

(waiting for the 2 steps back now!)

The cat loves to be part of everything, tonight she came and rolled on/rubbed herself in the fibre I was using earlier . Completely loving it. It was quite funny. She then tried to walk under my legs...not very co-ordinated.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

The Listless Knitter

I have cast on (and frogged) the new Cotton/Cashmere yarn 3 times. The colours are fabulous and look wonderful together I just can't engage/fall in love with/knit my fingers off with it just yet.

I also have 2 pairs of socks on the go that need to be finished but I cannot rekindle the passion for them at the moment yet.

My knitting process is to have a couple of things on the go but at least one inspirational/passionate knit. A challenge, with stunning yarn and colour and something that requires some truly hard work. If I have such a project I can alternate between that and socks or jumpers that are a little less challenging?

I am still in search of my new knitting love affair?
What is your creative process?

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Pattern Search

I am in search of a Pattern incorporating Marine Blue and Almost White preferably slipped stitch to get the most out of the two colours off to flick through some Barbara Walker

Any suggestions?

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Guilty Pleasures - An adventure in Film.

One of my great passions is film and each year I spend about 2 weeks at the Sydney Film Festival focused on films of cultural signficance and quality drama as well as the impressive array of documentaries on show. I love the range of experiences provided and seek out a variety of film over the year.

My guilty pleasure is an immersion in fun, popular quirky romantic comedies. To be specific the eighties romantic comedies (and one nineties extension) starring John Cussack. This passion was fuelled first by the influx of video stores (that allowed these films to be imprinted on the psyche of my then young soul) and consequently the release of DVDs. The mindless indulgence is pure fun and takes me back to the late high school/early university days when all-night video watching with stacks of friends was a common weekend event.

My fab five films are

First up is the crass and truly obvious "The Sure Thing" which telegraphs its conclusion well in advance. The journey is well-handled by light direction from Rob Reiner and great believable (as they get) performances by Cussack and Daphne Zuniga

Second (And probably my original favourite) is the wonderfully dark "Better off Dead" directed and written by "Savage" Steve Holland who later went on to direct 13 episodes of Lizzie McGuire (you will recognise the cartoons). A quirky ridiculous set of characters populate this movie and Cussack embodies the High School misfit dumped by his girlfriend who attempts suicide. A highlight is the amazingly agressive paperboy "I WANT MY TWO DOLLARS". This film will either make you laugh yourself silly or cringe. A highlight (I have included video below) is the guys who commentate their impromptu street drag racing as Howard Cosell) . It perhaps hasn't aged well and is full of some cringe-worthy stereotypes..but the darkness surpasses the flaws.

Third up is the reuniting of Holland and Cussack in the not quite as successful but still great fun "One Crazy Summer". This time he is joined by a group of misfits, labelled as "Hoops" but with no basketball talent and trying to challenge the rich kids on an island during summer. More twisted and dark cartoons and an insane race and you will again laugh yourself silly. Demi Moore is his love interest.

Fourth is the incredible "Say Anything" with Ione Skye and directed by Cameron Crowe (Fast Times at Ridgemont High, Singles, Almost Famous). A true romantic comedy where Cussack plays Lloyd Dobbler a more mature leading man whose performance breaks your heart. A film that has become a video and DVD classic this film will forever be tied in my head to the heart-wrenchingly beautiful Peter Gabriel Song "In Your Eyes". A film for every lover of romantic comedy.

The final installment (an updated intelligent and much more recent outing) is Grosse Pointe Blank that follows Martin Blank (Contract Killer) back to his 10 year high school reunion and the girl he abandoned on Prom Night. The absurdity where he tells everyone that asks what he does for a living (and they think he is joking) is one of the highlights. The brilliant 80's soundtrack, the incredibly violent episodes within the perfectly ordered lawns and society. You will laugh yourself silly. The relationship with his psychiatrist, his assistant (ably portrayed by sister Joan) and fellow Killer (Dan Ackroyd) is comedic gold. An absolute favourite (I watch it regularly). It channels the eighties teen romantic comedies tinged with darkness that I matured on. Cussack was part of the script-writing team (He went on to co-write High Fidelity as well). Special mention to the convincing friend performance from the wonderful Jeremy Piven (now of Entourage fame)

I have linked the trailer for Grosse Pointe Blank and a Howard Cosell moment from "Better off Dead" to whet your appetite. Hopefully this will inspire a few to watch these films (or even watch them again) and be added to the odd favourite list here or there.

Grosse Pointe Blank

Better Off Dead (Howard Cosell Commentary)

Monday, October 19, 2009

Day 19 Missed For a Few Reasons..The Best one Is


About an hour and forty minutes spent casting off. Blocking and shots in sunlight to come.

I also spent yesterday at the Primary Schools choral Festival performance at the Opera House so I missed the 19th day of blogging.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Spinning and Stash Reallocation

Yesterday I had a fantastic day with Spinners and Knitters
I started the morning off with my second spinning class (i had done little to no homework during the week) but managed to spend the morning getting a little better. The course is run by the NSW Spinners and Weavers Guild and Sue is our teacher. She is incredibly helpful and encouraging (as well as urging us to practice - which is the only way to get better). One of the students inspired us (read - made us all green with envy) by having spun and plied, skeined and washed 3 sets of yarn and had 4 more bobbins worth ready for plying (which she did throughout the class). I am still stumbling about but feel confident that I will eventually get there (if I practice).
The afternoon was truly spectacular I spent the afternoon with members of our Thursday Night Stich 'n' Bitch group for the First (of what I expect will be become more regular) Stash Reallocation event. Duck over here for some Photos of the Yarn Spread and the Food Spread (Thanks Rose Red) and Miss Fee for the stunning venue. We ate an amazing amount of food, we chatted, we drank Pinot, Sparkling and Tea. Mostly we fondled yarn, ate some stunning food and knitted. A few wound some balls of yarn. The cats played! A perfect spring afternoon
I had intended to come back lighter than I planned. I managed to acquire more than I passed on (I am blaming the bargain 12ply from Miss Fee). I also aquired some Habu paper (in my colourway - again from Miss Fee) and Knitabulous Sock and sode 2Di4 duo. Excluding the 12 ply I was weight even and not far off $ even.
So overall 20x50g balls of 12ply
100g each of Habu, Knitabulous Sock and 2Di4 duo
2 x Knittery Cashmere Sock (undyed) 100g each
1 x STR Lightweight 100g

Tonights Post Interrupted

By Spinning, knitting and stash reallocation, Johnny Depp on Foxtel
and finally Rockwiz.

Tomorrow Stash Reallocation = fail. I bought more home than I went with!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Big Week Comes Almost Ends - or the Non Update

Today I presented at the second day of the conference I was attending. It went quite well with a few questions and people coming by to ask more later. Essentially now I am quite exhausted.

I have missed my knitting and probably not been as diligent at the spinning practice as I should have. But tonight (after some sleep I expect) my available time will return to normal.

I have over a hundred blog posts to read at my leisure.
Promise a good, well formed update soon.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Creepin' Up Slowly

Unlike some my shawl production has slowed down and I have been wrestling with the last stages of Icarus (not because it is complicated) just because my knitting time is often in grabs and the silk thread is incredibly fine.

The end has been creepin' up slowly and I am now halfway through the final chart (13 rows of 26) it is looking incredibly stunning in the shimery silk. It is also looking huge, huge, huge.

It has been my only knitting this week as I am determined to get as close to finished as possible by the end of the weekend.

Note: I am in awe of the aforementioned MissyFee for her recent production output.

I am off to day one of the conference I am presenting at (tomorrow). To assist with enjoying your day please enjoy the song with the same name as my Post Title by Taxiride.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Warm Feet Wednesday - aka my Love of Knitted Socks

This morning my feet were a little cold so I pulled on my favourite lounge around the house hand-knitted socks to Warm my feet. They are a Nanch Bush pattern in Handmaiden Casbah. Are perfectly soft, squishy and warm warm warm!

So here are my favourite thing about Knitted Socks
  • Well made, well knitted socks are really amazing to wear and significantly warmer and more comfortable than store bought socks
  • If made with the right type of yarn (generally with some nylon in them) they will wear well, wash well and soften just perfectly.
  • They can be repaired (Darning)
  • As gifts they are relatively easy to knit and almost universally appreciated. Once someone has warn knitted socks they will find store bought socks inferior!
  • There is a myriad of patterns, yarn, and techniques to keep knitting them interesting and as challenging or easy as you like.
  • Seeing the entire family's knitted socks drying on the line after washing is a magical sight.
  • A non-knitter who envies the hand-knitted socks of you or a loved one (and appreciates the effort) is a good friend who will love any hand-made gift they get.
  • Sock Knitting is a long tradition of many cultures and it is nice to be part of extending that tradition.

Tired Tuesdays

For some reason Tuesdays always leave me tired, exhausted even. Too
long to the weekend, the memory of the last one is still fresh.

Tuesday is the day my to do list explodes! I always end the day with
more to do than I started. My knitting and now spinning homework fight
hard for attention often only getting thirty minutes first thing in
the morning.

My energy solution music played over and over again. My escape
solution playing the fast forward "sleep" button and jumping into

Monday, October 12, 2009

A little Spot of Spring

Our little garden in the front yard has had a complete makeover thanks to dh (The plants, mulch and clearing) and little O (the herbs). The colours are actually brighter but I took this with dusk approaching.

I also picked up these very gorgeous shawl pins. I am very much in love with the dragonfly.

And by popular demand here is some more Icarus

Saturday, October 10, 2009

New Additions

Top Left: The re-released Alice Starmore' Book of Fair Isle Knitting (Purchased)
Top Right: Knitted Socks East and West - a birthday gift from the wonderful LynS
Middle Left: Fabric from GingerM's ebay store
Middle Centre: Alchemy Haiku (Silk/Mohair) and Cedobe knits Alpacca - a birthday gift from the equally wonderful MissyFee
Middle Right: Fabric from Fabric Australia
Bottom Left: New Yarn Louet Euroflax in Violet and Lush Yarns Silk Merino in It's My Party, Electric and Trophy (Purchased with Birthday money.
Bottom Right: New Reading purchases books by Andrew McGahan, Marian Keyes, Nick Hornby and Jane Green - relatively light stuff at the moment.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

To Whom it May Concern (An Open Letter to Non-Knitters)

Dear Non-Knitter

Do you think if Hand-Knitting manufacturing quantities of any garment or item for a small amount of money was viable we wouldn't already be doing i?

So when we say no we don't think any knitters want to knit something that takes them 50-60 hours for a $20 payment we really really mean it. None of our fellow knitters wants to get paid that for what is essentially a hobby and no we will not ask them.

You should probably know, that as with any hobby, pastime or craft you undertake the joy is often in choosing what we knit and who we give it to. Not in the production of the same garment over and over again.

That said I will happily teach you and you can make them yourself! NO? How disappointing.

End of Community Service Announcement.

Tomorrow, fabric, yarn, books and shawl pins and probably an update on the Spinning course I start tomorrow.

You and Your Racist Friend

Obviously unless you live outside of Australia and live under a rock (and even if you don't) you would have heard the furor over the skit on Hey Hey it's Saturday this post is not about that!
(Google It!)

This post is about exploring my reaction to the portrayal of racism on our TV's. Last week I caught the first 2 episodes of Tangle, the new show from the team that bought us Secret Life of Us (Yes Us not American Teenagers) and Love My Way. These shows both had their strengths not the least of which was honest dealing with grief, bullying in the workplace, infidelity and the general messiness of life. Both had a level of rawness and inner-city sensibility. Tangle is much more about suburban sensibilities and dealing with the general messiness of life.

The character of Vince (portrayed by Ben Mendelsohn) is a slightly dodgy, earthy, and overtly racist builder with ambition. The character has a surname of Kovic but in a verbal and physically violent encounter with a business colleague looking for money utilises racist languge in the engagement to belittle the other character. The phrasing jarred with me as it would have been a deliberate choice at some, if not multiple, points within the development, filming and editing process and seemed an odd choice to me. it glorifying racism, just creating the character or exposing an ugly underbelly of our society (yes this kind of racism exists in our suburbs).

I am sure that the character will be portrayed with flaws and admirable qualities - perhaps my issue is wanting story book good and evil. Racism = Bad so am i expecting he should be an "evil" character with no redeeming qualities.

I am left wondering if my struggle is with the difficulty I will face bonding with the character. A character like this in a film would perhaps not provide me with the same difficulty. I will watch it again.

The puzzle continues.

For your own contemplation.....They Might Be Giants - Your Racist Friend (covered by Mick Thomas and the Sure Thing!)

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

People Say the Strangest Things When They See You Knitting in Public

Bells told a story about the various reactions to her knitting in public, so I thought I would share a recent and entertaining experience (at least I found it so).

Like most people we have some routine activities we perform at or around the same time in the same place most weekends. The family shop takes place (usually) at a local shopping centre, small, reasonably well formed except for the sharp left turn on entry to the ramp, and easily accessible.

The first thing we do on arrival is grab a coffee at the coffee shop and sit outside near the pet shop. This happens most weeks and of course I pull out my knitting. The waitress at the cafe and a number of the other locals often asked what I am knitting and check out the item.

I do not know the name of the staff at the coffee shop (where we have been going for around five years) shocking but we are there once a week. In my own defence I do know the name of the barista and server at the coffee shop I go to every work day. Anyway she is always lovely and remembers our coffee order and who has what. The other week she bought out her coffees asked me what I was knitting (Toe-Up Socks) and proceeded to say "When I get married and have a baby you are going to knit all their clothes". This was all one sentence pronounced incredibly quickly.

It evoked in me images in me of her walking down the ailse, having the baby and me knitting the train out of baby clothes like a little clothesline. I wish I had the time and creative tools to photoshop this image. Would be spectacular I am sure.

We laughed but it does highlight that a lot of people think that if you knit you automatically want to knit for other people, whether you know them or not, whether you like them or they you. There is little acknowledgement that this is something you invest time and effort in because you enjoy it. That the choice of what items you knit may be a big part of that enjoyment. If a friend builds you a cabinet or wires your house or paints you a picture is it seen with the same? Would you expect to pay for the materials and the labour, or in the case of the artist would you expect to pay market rate for their work?

No Knitting Just Chocolate (Photos)

Today and into this evening I am crazy busy trying to complete a presentation for submission for next week. So I thought I would share some photos we are looking at using.

I will leave it to you to work out the connection between an IT presentation and Chocolate...oodles and oodles of chocolate.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Winning Baby Blanket Bingo and Links

A mixed bag today.
First up the Baby Blanket is all sewn up. We left it on the table and played with the combinations until finally arriving at this yesterday morning. I then spent most of yesterday sewing it up (all bar the last 2 squares).
The shot is not using any flash as the bedroom has amazing light when the window is open (and the sun is out) as it was for a few minutes today. I love when big projects come together and this is quite big.

Fabric Purchases

You may have seen mention following links from Blogtoberfest yesterday and finding fabric.

Well I found this link FreshFabricAustralia when reading Sew!Busy!Mama! and a few fabric purchases may have magically leapt into my cart and are heading my way this week.

Which may have inspired me to check out Raveller gingerm's wonderful eBay Store and some companion fabric may also be joining it.

You will just have to wait for the post to see what I have added to the fabric collection.

Adventures in Blogtober, Unfinished Blanket and Lost Days

Today i lost the first three hours of my day to Wii SimCity Creator. I
watched my step daughter build a city, grow a city and then destroy it
with meteors. So much for a productive Sunday. I did get some sock
knitting done whilst reading instructions.

I then spent the next few hours flicking through the first column of
sign-ups for Blogtoberfest. Lots of great blogs to read, I would love
to put a snakes and ladders game together with links to various blogs
maybe later in the month. Also lots more reading to do as I have
subscribed to quite a few of them. In the interests of full disclosure
I may have followed a link and purchased some fabric.

This afternoon I watched the NRL final and sewed up all bar the last
three squares of the blanket -photos tomorrow. It was not the most
exciting game.

The day has somehow wandered into the evening and I am exhausted but
the weekend chores are calling and I am wondering how I will avoid
them for the remaining few hours until bedtime-why ruin a perfect day!

Friday, October 2, 2009

Baby Blanket Bingo

Playing with combinations before I sew the squares together. The colours are vibrant and work well in many combinations. I am not a big fan of forced repeating patterns when it comes to squares or colour blocks. I will play some more before it is final.

The weather today is the rainy, stay inside, snuggle and turn up the music kind. To go with the mood some stripped back Go-Betweens along with some chatter. The stunning Cattle and Cane and the haunting Bachelor Kisses. Well why kill a theme that seems to be working.


Look what I came home to today. My shiny birthday present has arrived!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Creating Shared Cultural References

My dh and I met and became entangled after we both turned 30. There is a little over 2 months between our birthdays, we both were born outside of Sydney with my family moving here before my school days started and his family moving around and settling in the Blue Mountains for his final years of High School. We both spent the majorty of our late teens and twenties in and around Sydney.

As you do with a new partner or potential you start to fill in gaps of your history by sharing points of reference (favourite musicians, tv shows, movies). My dh's family had limited TV (not always owning one) so a lot of the kids shows I watched, and even the recurring dramas he has not even seen in passing. He does have (and now owns) the entire series of MASH embedded in his psyche. As such a lot of my TV Cartoon references or even memorable moments (anything from The Young Ones/The Late Show - "Not with the good scissors") do not raise a flicker or recognition. Dr Who also seems to have been a small exception to this.

Our cultural cross-overs were books and music with both of us owning Tori Amos, Ben Harper (His early stuff), Jeff Buckley, The Reels, the incomparable Skunkhour among others and having spent time listening to a lot of local bands in various pubs around the Inner West, Inner city and Eastern Sydney.

Music has become an essential part of our shared lives with the radio, cd's or mp3s always being on and some of our earliest outings together were to see live music - Mick Thomas (formerly of Weddings Parties Anything). Michael Franti & Spearhead and Ben Harper. All of these musicians earlier and more recent recordings have become a staple part of our now shared musical landscape. I even made sure we got to the Weddings Parties Anything reunion gigs in Sydney last year to add that experience to our shared history (And because nothing is as much fun as a beer soaked hall with the Weddoes playing).

Interestingly two of the most successfully integrated recent CD's/albums (pick the reference you most identify with) are actually covers albums the First Jimmy Little's Messenger which refashions songs by artists one or both of us love) and the other being more recent Kev Carmody project Cannot Buy My Soul (we went to the fantastic event at the Sydney festival last year).

Messenger incorporates a lot of our favourite artists
  • The Cruel Sea (His)
  • The Church (Mine)
  • Ed Kuepper (Mine) of the Saints (Both)
  • Paul Kelly (Everyone)
  • The Reels (His)
  • Crowded House (Both - part of my live roster)
  • The Go- Betweens (Mine)
  • Nick-Cave (Both)
  • Warumpi Band (Mine)
  • The Sunny Boys (Mine)

Kev's Carmody's Cannot Buy My Soul incorporates artists we both love (John Butler, The Herd, Dan Kelly, Clare Bowditch, Steve Kilbey and Tex Perkins among others) across a wide variety of styles and celebrates the amazing work of Kev Carmody. It also reminds us of one of the most moving Music Theatre pieces we have ever jointly experienced telling the story of Kev Carmodies life through re-workings of his music with film, pictures and dramatised re-enactments culminating in an amazing performance of "From Little Things Big Things Grow". The DVD is worth a look.

Music has provided us wtih an initial connection point but serves as a continued way to weave us together.

Jimmy Little doing Ed Kuepper's "The Way I Made You Feel" on Rockwiz

P.S I will come back with more time on the weekend and provide a supplementary post with links to the bands (where possible) i have referenced.