Saturday, December 31, 2011

A Year in Knitting and Spinning

2011 was an interesting year for me. A new job in April and some added responsibilities (Knitting related) in the second half of the year. A cancer diagnosis for a family member put things into perspective in late September (he is responding to treatment)!

I managed to complete only 13 knitting projects. Mostly shawls and some socks. I started a few cardigans but only finished one. I did spin up quite a bit of yarn and gave some away as gifts.

For 2012 I am going to be knitting what I want when I want! That's it. No big plans no big commitments just a chance to knit and spun when I can and to enjoy it!

On the needles at the moment
Diamond Fantasy Wollmeise 100% in Madame Souris and some Cotton Squares all in Bendigo 8 ply for a baby blanket.

Friday, December 30, 2011


The silence since early December has been unintentional.

Work, family, christmas functions and life have kept me busy.

Christmas was a great day spent with the family. Since Christmas I have been lying low taking advantage if endless hours of cricket on the TV, afternoon naps and grazing instead of meals most days.

On the knitting front progress has been slow on the Diamond Fantasy shawl. After Christmas I started knitting cotton squares for a baby blanket - all from

Looking forward to a quiet New Years and another week off work filled with more cricket, movies, naps and the odd swim!

Hope you are enjoying a wonderful festive season!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Knitter's High Tea

This is the only photo I managed to take.

Too busy drinking tea and bubbles, eating scones and cake, knitting and admiring the amazing and varied gifts made by my fellow crafters!

Lots of laughs and great fun ad by all!

Sunday, November 20, 2011


Finished Object
Pattern: Alivia
Yarn : handspun Organic Merino approx Fingering Weight

Fibre: Wooldancer organic merino Bush Hues in Grey-Green with mauve and yellow highlights

La Cumparsita

Finished Object

Pattern: La Cumparsita
Yarn: Wollmeise 100% in WD Bussi
I used all bar a small ball amount (enough for a few of those puff things for RoseRed's Folly)

It is not as big as I would like but big enough.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Shawl off The Needles

After much knitting I cast off my La  Cumparsita Shawl by Marnie MacLean Designs.

link to Marnie's Pattern Page here
link to Ravelry Page here

I spent a lot of the weekend at Lancefield trying to get the small leaf component complete and have spent the week or so since getting the Large leaf pattern complete.

The yarn is a Wollmeise 100% WD in Red (Bussi according to the covered label).

Alas no photos and a blocking still to complete.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Tripping through the Countryside of Victoria with Knitters

Wandering Lancefield

A totally delicious lunch at Annie Smithers Bistrot in Kyneton resulting in a duck fat and sugar coma.

A Knitter's Breakfast Coffee, Tea, Eggs, Bacon and Pancakes with knitting all around.

Fun and games galore - like the Cookie A Shot below.

Knitting in the Garden Friday, Saturday and stretching it into Sunday...and a bit of drinking in the garden too.

and a great little country bookstore.

The facts 10 women, 7 meals, 3 lost runners, 2 nights, 1 search and rescue operation, too many drinks and lots of laughs.

What a great weekend. More photos at knitabulous, web-goddess, drkknits and missfee

Thanks ladies and Thanks Ailsa for a totally not harebrained scheme.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011


This year we embraced Halloween

T as Jamie (he only had to buy the undershirt & beret) myself as Leia Organa - no bagels

And O a triumph as hit girl

And here a trio of Superheroes with our hosts web-goddess

Spinning in Progress

I have managed to find the time and space to get some spinning done

Ewe Give Me The Knits merino in progress

Endless plying

Post wash with some Ixchel bunny/silk. It got blown around in the wind on Monday and required untangling!


Next Bfl Tussah silk in a natural silver-grey!

Colours by Mail

Earlier this week i received a huge package...
Opened up to find...

Not all for me. Of course as soon as they arrive I have envy for the items I didn't get!

Distribution commenced early yesterday!

all from welovecolors

OMG the Shoes

Kazsthespazz has just blogged about her new shoes .
They come in Orange, Red & Yellow

Some Shoes.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Notes From The Hard Road and Beyond Into Sunday

Saturday Night on our weekend in Melbourne saw us all set for the Notes from The Hard Road & Beyond Concert at the Sidney Myer Music Bowl. After 2 days of rain we were concerned it would be uncomfortable as our seats were just outside the under cover section.

Armed with Rain jackets, ponchos and a positive attitude we traipsed across the gardens to the concert site. A short walk and well organised we were soon at our slightly damp seats.

The show was billed thus

notes from the hard road and beyond chronicles an inspiring canon of songs from civil rights, anti-war and women's suffrage to environmentalism, feminism and the abolition movement in a glorious and daring celebration of the music of protest, rebellion, love and hope.
Weaving together music by Billie Holiday, Bob Dylan, Woody Guthrie, Leonard Cohen, Pete Seeger and Green Day, to name just a few, notes from the hard road and beyond is a unique and joyous testament to the indomitable nature of the human spirit, expressed through music.
Pop meets polemic in a spectacular tribute to the lives and voices that have marked, and in some cases changed, the course of human history.

The line up was fierce with Mavis Staples, Joss Stone, Rickie Lee Jones, Paul Dempsey, Emmanual Jal, John Schumann and the Black Arm Band - this time featuring Archie Roach, Shane Howard, Mark Atkins, Emma Donnovan and stalwart members Lou Bennett and Shellie Morris. There was much to be anticipated.

The first half delivered almost without flaw - the graphic images accompanying the songs was heart stopping and gripping.  Mavis Staples stole the show every time she stepped on stage, with Rickie Lee Jones and Archie Roach delivering powerful performances. Roach most notably delivering shivers to the audience with his Took The Children Away. Donnovan's rendition of Strange Fruit was gripping and probably the highlight of the graphics used. The only odd notes were the graphics during Paul Dempsey's delivery of Leonard Cohen's the Future and Joss Stone's near pop rendition of I am Woman accompanied by some of the most powerful female voices (in Bennet, Morris and Donnovan). 

The second half was much less cohesive with songs Beyond about liberation and celebration. Emmanual Jal's Emma in the second half was a joyous and uplifing celebration (and I hope sent many in search of purchasing his great hip-hop). Jal's story is quite frankly unbelievable and immensely touching. His talent is huge. The Joss Stone Paul Dempsey duet on Throw Your Arms Around Me was strange as it appeared to be two artists completely out of touch with each other.

Rickie Lee Jones and Archie Roach performed Somewhere from West Side Story - strange but true and the combination worked! Roach then followed up with Into My Arms (by Nick Cave) but the transition was confusing. Staples again stepped on to the stage and the musicians all let her hold court (except for Stone - whose performance at this point reminded me of the Diva's concert where Celine Dion tried to keep up with Aretha Franklin).

The closing (well what should have been closing number) which had the whole cast singing Long Way to The Top was brilliant and there was no need for Stone to come out with a solo version of People Get Ready - strange.

The first half hit hard, the second left me lukewarm. I loved the experience but ache for what the second half could have been.

Sunday saw sun shining for the first time in our trip. An excursion towards the city saw us stumble on the Arts Centre Markets - great coffee and a heap of handmade and handcrafted items. I managed to spy (across quite a distance) hand-dyed yarn from Hawthorne Cottage picking up some sock yarn.

After this we walked along the river and found somewhere to have breakfast before heading back to the city for a wander around and a few ales overlooking the river before a trip to the airport where we enjoyed a 2 plus hour delay and missed the kick off for the RWC final.

A Taste of Mebourne

The weekend before last now we popped down to Melbourne on Friday morning.
Arriving around lunch time we dropped our bags off and headed into Federation Square.
Can I tell you how great the trams are in Melbourne - I know it's because the city is well laid out and organised (not quite in a Canberra kind of way) and is a true tourists delight to be able to get pretty much anywhere you need to simply and quickly.

First stop was lunch (no where fancy) just something to eat and drink before our afternoon effort. We tried Time Out at Federation Square. It was raining and grey and the upstairs at the Tourist information centre across the way was packed (free wifi and power!). The food was good and they were quick with the beer for T and the ginger beer for me.

We stepped into ACMI early afternoon - we started with the 25 years of David and Margaret Exhibition. The exhibition is small but perfectly formed with a collection of Margaret's earings on one side and David's film festival lanyards/passes on the other, the exhibition lets you know it has a sense of humour. A collection of photo's with various film luminaries from around the world and over the year adorns one corner. A veritable who's who of international film. Scattered around the exhibition is a range of memorabilia that enthralled this film buff. As only a museum dedicated to the moving image can there were a number of stations showing a sutie of clips many snatches of memorable reviews and some great skits/special apperances. There is also the chance to review a film with David or Margaret in a special greenroom set up. A fun exhibition and free!

After taking a quick break we bought our tickets and headed into the Star Voyager Exhibition loosely marketed thus.

Journey through the fact and fiction of space exploration from Fritz Lang to the moon landing, to Star Trek and Total Recall.

We spent a lot of time trawling through the much larger exhibition - particularly loving some of the old presentation materials and the early silent movies (especially the German ones!). This exhibit is very much an exploration of the fiction and it's connection to fact of our journey into space on film this exhibition is a delight. It does include some of the space flight video and some great Cosmonaut items.

The film segments are mesmerising (especially the ones you have seen). A highlight is the 3D film on Mars. A really worthwhile exhibition, especially for those that love Sci-Fi. Space 1999 &

After another short break we ventured into the Screen Worlds Exhibition a permanent and free exhibition entitled The Story of Film, Television and Visual Culture.

From the computer games you can play both native (ie as they should be) and  Wii Tennis vs Pong at the start to the complete Digital exhibition from original PC's (the Commodore  64 wasn't working!) to iPhones this exhibition is interactive and overwhelming. We spent the most time in the portion dedicated to Film and Television celebrating directors, animators, game developers and of course Actors, Films and TV shows. A highlight was the Zoetrope blogged by ACMI here it features Ty the Tasmanian Tiger a computer game character (Australian one too!) and is quite mind blowing.

Revisting Gallipoli, Neighbours, Kylie Mole, Crocodile Dundee, Mad Max, Picnic at Hanging Rock and a multitude of other Australian film, telivision and video/computer gaming delights with a range of articles and lots more video - mostly interactive. This is positively overwhelming (Yes that word again). We managed to cover all bar the digital culture (but did go visit the non-working Commodore 64).

Saturday saw us head into town for breakfast in one of the famous laneways (did I mention it was freezing and wet and more than a little windy). Following eggs and coffee we hit the shops. T bought some really nice new boots and I bought not much of anything. We were looking for a coat and shoes for him considering the weather might turn beyond ordinary to positively unpleasant. The coat was abandoned. Over breakfast we found a movie to see Red State an, at first glance, atypical Kevin Smith offering.

We headed over to Kino (Palace's fantastic stadium style seating venue in the CBD) around lunch time (well and truly full from breakfast). Slightly damp (it was pouring, we took our seats with the obligatory Choc Top and Water (seriously - anyone will tell you T can not see a movie without a choc top - there were protests once at Dendy Newtown when they ran out).

What can I say about Red State - it's strengths John Goodman, Kevin Smith's natural dialogue amongst peers and friends, John Goodman, a great cast, John Goodman, a couple of great jokes, the closing sequence (necessary to make the rest of the film bearable) and did I mention John Goodman. (Seriously a great actor). It's weaknesses trying to grapple with so much about blurred lines - fundamentalists and government agents who take a we know whats best for everyone stance, the bizarre comfort with violence and religion and children.

The film looks at a group of teenagers who get lured into a bizarre situation by the local fundamentalist Christian church who are taking things into their own hands. As the twisted tale continues violence, fear and a standoff with federal representatives ensues. The ending (a hearing on the outcome of the standoff/siege is an inspired rewrite and a comment on the amoral stance of those in charge.

I suppose would i recommend it - probably not. Did I regret seeing it - No.
3 stars.  Can't wait to see what Smith does next.

And don't go read about the original ending - I am so glad it ended the way it did. The original endign probably would have had me throwing things and screaming at the screen.

Saturday afternoon saw us head to Chapel Street where we bought a beer each after much traipsing and looking but nothing jumped out at either of us. We sat on slightly damp seats out the front of the pub. Eventually heading back to the hotel.

Next up Notes from The Hard Road & Beyond  and The finally Sunny Sunday.

Cleaning out the Clutter

In addition to cleaning up the blog and the blog roll I have been cleaning up at least on the digital stage as part of clearing my mind for new projects.

I have updated the iOS on both the iphone and ipad and cleaned out a heap of apps I never use as well as sorting out the most recent into groups/folders whatever it's called.

Bigger still has been the ravelry clean up. I have reduced the number of Tabs I have to just 2.
All about Jody (I know but it makes sense) and Ravelry.

On the All about Jody tab I now only have groups that I regularly read or contribute to. Makes my ravelry visits much quicker and allows me to get on with looking at the Friend Activity Tab (way more interesting) and the patterns feed.

I am down to just over 30 groups I still belong to but all their activity is on one page with the most active at the top.

I feel lighter some how!

I have also cleaned up the music on both the iPhone and iPod (yes iPod) and backed it all up.
A bit more yarn, fibre and fabric clean up at home and I won't know myself.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Protest Songs Celebration with Perfect Timing

The weekend just passed saw me in Melbourne enjoying the sights and sounds, but not the weather. The trip was timed with the closing weekend of Melbourne Festival to catch the Notes from The Hard Road & Beyond Concert.

Friday morning on arrival in Melbourne we dropped our bags at the hotel and headed to Fed Square ready to check out some exhibitions at ACMI. The trams terminated at Flindesr Street Station & Fed Square due to the protesters we were told.

As we had some lunch we noticed what appeared to be about half the police cars in Melbourne parked on Flinders and Swanston Streets.

As with any trip, you are often not as aware of the news places to go, things to do you see!

As the weekend unfolded we found that the Occupy Melbourne protest had been broken up with what appears to have been a particularly heavy hand, and the site they occupied (public space) had big fences put up around it. Puzzling? Yes. Ridiculous ? Definitely.

Stranger still was that the concert we went to see a closing night of the Melbourne Festival was a celebration of protest songs!

Sad that a city celebrating protests in such a superb way could produce a clash such as Friday.
Then the media pronouncements of the mayor yesterday in the Herald Sun are sad.
Check out Mike Stuchbery for a response to the Mayor's

More on the concert and Melbourne later.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Spring Clean

Whilst my knitting languishes, a stocking stitch sock the only thing I have touched for over a week, I decided to tidy my blog in some snatched minutes.

A few weeks ago I moved to a cleaner look and today I renovated the blog list. Out with the old and outdated and in with the list I mainly read from Google reader.

Some notable additions The Sew Weekly - seriously a great project, 1Funkyknitwit - always visually stunning and Stump'd and Stump'd notes - tales of an Australian in the US.

Hopefully the use of Thumbnails might entice you on to explore one or more.

In case you are wondering the knitter in me is crying out for some thinking time to get started on the lace obsession or a cardigan.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The Knitting Myth

You will have seen from my blog that I knit a bit, well ok a lot.

Like most keen knitters I know I tend to knit whenever I can - on trains, in waiting rooms, during non-critical presentations, at cafe's with friends and at home. I produce a great range of shawls, socks, cardigans and other garments.

To the average non-knitter there is not much to it - pick up some needles, yarn and a pattern and off you go right?

Wrong. This statement is so wrong.

If I am going to produce a garment I need to think about it. Yes, I know one of the joys of the actual knitting is not having to think to much while doing it. However, before I start I have thinking to do, a lot of thinking to do.

Starting any knitting project involves the following key steps

What do I want to knit?
Shawl, Socks, Cardigan, Jumper, Mitts, Hats, Baby stuff

For Who?
Me, T, O - other.

Plain, Patterned, Lace , Colourwork

Weight, composition, colour

Do I have/have access to a pattern?
Probably, where is it?

Do I need/want to resize it?

Do I have enough yarn?
Yes/no/not sure....Often the answer is not sure.

Can I get gauge (ie knitting with the same or different needles get the same dimensions for a small piece of knitting as the designer)

This often takes a bit of effort and time and rework.
Don't forget to wet block it and "Wear" it a bit to see if it will stretch, change shape or drape afterwards.

Often the Answer is no

What Modifications do I need to make?
Graph it, chart it, document it.

Finally I am all set now (unless I change my mind and go back to pattern or colour again)
Yarn and colour

Finally I can knit.

So the next time you see a knitter - appreciate the pre-work that went into that effortless knitting they are doing in front of you!

Back to my challenge.

Usually I am really good at this bit having things on the go and ready to start.
This month - October - has been particularly hectic for me. Multi-day work strategy sessions spilling into weekends and additional events and responsibilities with family, friends and other knitters (guild anyone).

The tragedy is I am running out of Knitting Thinking time and I am away (for fun this time) this weekend but without a new project ready to go on the needles.

I really only have tonight to get something going - decisions, decisions. I suspect a shawl or socks - only because I can risk skipping the whole gauge and swatching steps.

How is your Craft thinking time going

Happy Crafting.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Obsessions: Lace

I have worked out I am currently obsessed with Lace.

Kleio is done - Link to ravelry project including some pictures whilst awaiting blocking. It is a gorgeous Lace Panel and the stunning lace edge that is currently ruffling - the challenge is to not block that out. No sooner did I cast this cast off last Monday before I cast on another lace shawl.

Alivia is in progress - a gorgeous lace panel and a simple lace centre. I am up to the 10th repeat and think I will have enough handspun for an 11th.

The yarn is ordered for Violet a Ravelry link can be found here. I have ordered some Valley Yarns Cotlin (Cotton and Linen blend). A project that will likely result in madness I believe.

I am now thinking about both Gothic from The Knitter (issue 37) and Cameo Shawl from Rowan Lace.

And perhaps a Lace cardigan for summer.
Obsessed much?

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Kleio a Work in Progress

On the needles at the moment is the wonderful Kleio from Romi Hill's Second year of Small Shawls project.

The shawl has techniques galore - short rows (garter), braids, lace panels, lace edging and did i mention braids.

The yarn: Old Maiden Aunt Alpaca/Silk in Selkie (grey) and Farsaig (Orange/Copper/Brown)

This sneak pic shows off the lace panel and the braids either side. It is really hard to get a picture of a now approaching 600 stitch crescent shaped shawl that does it justice regardless of the cable length.

Needless to say it is soft, squishy and stunning and I love it even if the braids are hard work.

Monday, September 12, 2011


Today I find myself knitting Kleio by Romi Hill.
It is the first pattern from her second year of small shawls.

It is a two-colour or two-toned knit in my new favourite crescent shape.
Lots of garter stitch (short rows), seriously lots of garter stitch.
Then a nice lace section in contrast colour, some stocking stitch and an edging (I think).

It is soft and drapey when knitted in Old Maiden Aunt Alpaca Silk.

Just wish I could get to the colour section (two rows away) but work keeps getting in the way.

I think I need to knit a cardigan. Or finish a UFO too.
Perhaps this weekend.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Ton of Wool.

Have you contributed to the Ton of Wool Yet?
2 days to go and just over 2/3rds of the way there.
There is also the option to gain a reward for your contribution.
Go on. You know you want to.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

FO Westknits Mystery Shawl KAL

August Obsessions 2 versions of the Westknits Mystery Shawl

The first in Old Maiden Aunt Alpaca Silk the second in Madelinetosh Pashmina.
The verdict both gorgeous!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Envious Seraphim

Another Finished Shawl

Yarn: Madelinetosh Eyre Light in Envy - 2 skeins
Pattern: Seraphim

I wear this shawl regularly and I adore the softness of the yarn and the generous size.

Mystery Shawl No 1

Stephen West Mystery Shawl Currently up to Clue 3

Yarn: Madelinetosh Pashmina - A: Flashdance; B: Logwood; C: Curiosity.

Stripe Shawl

Stripe Study Shawl - Wollmeise Twin in Dornroschen and Patonyle Black

One of a few shawls I finished recently

Yarn: 2 skeins of Wollmeise Twin in Dornroschen (20 grams left)

2.1 balls of Patyonlye 50g black

Tour de Fleece

A sample of my spinning for the tour

Tuesday, August 16, 2011


Please forgive my absence as well as being busy I have become a little obsessed.

I now have 2 versions of the Stephen West Mystery Shawl on the go and am absolutely obsessed with completing Clue 3 (in large) for both shawls before the next clue.

I have to get my act together with photos to share. Still navigating the multiple device thing.

Celebrating my other great obsession (film) I wanted to share a fabulous series kicking off tonight at the Art Gallery of NSW. Yes film at the art gallery and it's free!

The series is called Weimar to Hollywood in conjunction with the mad square: modernity in German art 1910-37 exhibition currently taking place. The series will demonstrate the decisive impact of German filmakers of the same period.

Highlights include ledgend Lousie Brooks in Pandora's box, Josef von Sternberg's The Blue Angel (Marlene Deitrich), Murnau's Nosferatu and completing with a fabulous series from Fritz Lang - Metropolis, M, Scarlet Street, The Big Heat and The Blue Gardenia.

Details at the AGNSW site here.

One of the great things about Sydney is there is a film festival on almost all the time. Possible Worlds (the Canadian Film Festival just finished on the weekend it opened with Score a Hockey musical with Olivia Newton-John). September sees the Sydney Underground Film Festival take place in Marrickville. Palace also host Israeli Film Festival next week and the Russian Resurrection Film Festial in September, The Lavazza Italian Film Festival in September, and a Poetry in Film Festival in October.

And of course the Chauvel in Sydney hosts the Cinemateque on a Monday night (I remember when it used to be weekends as well)- sob. Upcoming highlights include Yellow Submarie August 22nd and White Heat August 29th.

Film gems are everywhere in this town - even when we have lost many of the great repertory cinemas and a few of our Art Houses as well.

Anyway back to work and when time allows knitting and film watching.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

The Power of Knitting with Friends

This morning I joined Fee, Sue, Alison, her mum Annette and a couple of hundred or thousand of Sydney's knitters at the ABC Knit-in.

There was lots of activity including thousands of squares for wrap with love and a giant green and gold scarf for the Wallabies vs All Blacks Game.

Fee was interviewed about her fabulous groovy/funky knitting and spoke brilliantly.

I wanted to touch on one of her points briefly. I belong formally and informally to a number of knitting groups. The Knitters Guild NSW Inc, Morris & Sons Thursday Night S ' n' B (who decamp to the pub afterwards to continue the knitting) the most regular. These groups both formal and informal have educated me, informed me, entertained me and made me laugh.

From colour to technique being with this diverse and talented group of knitters has inspired me to stretch my knitting taking on a more complex and challenging series of projects. A culture of generosity exists - phrases like you can do it, it just takes practice are common, as is one knitter showing another a technique or skill they have learned.

A group who accepts my obsessions (both fibre and textile) and allows me to be and learn.
The energy I get from these meetings is amazing - lifting me on a dull day and inspiring me further on a great one.

Thanks Knitters.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Stephen West Mystery Shawl KAL

I have been mentally searching my stash for the right yarn and really like the idea of the Old Maiden Aunt Alpaca Silk

Like my friend miss fee I have put together a few photos with each combination appearing twice!

The designers colours can be found here

Your thoughts - do any of them work? I must admit I love the madtosh in logwood, curiosity and flashdance ( no surprises)

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Tour de Fleece and Knitting

I have spun a few fibres up

Merino and Black Diamond a gift for Miss Fee

Alpaca from a friend

BFL in purple and gold

And some knitting the Juneberry Triangle and Stripe Study Shawl in progress

Monday, July 4, 2011

Tour de Fleece Days 1 & 2

Day 1 and 2 of the Tour was a finish this project.

I have 375 grams of Skein Merino Silk tto spin. I had spun nearly 125 in singles. This fibre was not what I had first thought there was way more white and I had to rethink my plan.

Seeking advice from the likes of 1funkyknitwit and a few others I decided to try plying the finished singles. I have a couple of cones of commercial heavy lace/light baby weight yarn.

Day 1 involved just a little bit of spinning with just the first 125g completed as singles

Day 2 I managed to spin 125g of singles and ply it completing the second 125g on Day 3.

So the above became this - thick and thin and at the moment about 500metres of it with another 125g still to spin.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

How did it Get to be July already

June as always passed in a blur the film festival which usually takes up half followed by a cough that just would not go away.

Sheer madness has departed and then comes July. What better way to celebrate than throwing myself into some more pure madness so I am jumping into the Tour - this year however I will be following the Tour de Fleece as opposed to the Knit along.

My plan is to spin every day (starting last Saturday) and so far I am on track.

I have some Skein fibre that I just want to finish spinning so I have made the effort and finished all bar one third of it as singles and plied one third already. I should just about get the rest done tonight (forget housework etc)
The total amount is 375grams so there is a huge amount to spin in total.

Following that I have a few gifts to spin then I will be onto pure fun. Hopefully by the weekend.

My camera battery is flat so I need to charge it - so alas no photos yet.

On the knitting front I have not yet blogged a few finished items/newly started items
And Another Thing Socks - Done
Envious Seraphim - Done and getting regular wear
Basic Tango - Done and getting regular wear
Crushed Berries - started and completed in need of a block
I have also completed a Juneberry Triangle in Brooklyn Tweed Shelter
Striped Study Shawl - started and in progress

The temporary loss of my laptop, which was also the charging point for the camera has slowed me down with my knit blogging.

More soon hopefully with photos.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Craft Show

Today I went to the craft show with miss_fee and her delightful friend Gracie.

We looked at sock-monkeys, buttons, patterns, craft supplies, material, scarves and of course yarn.

I picked up sock yarn, hemp and Quivik Silk from Prudence Mapstone, silk top from Kaalund, some gorgeous grey Slub from Dairing and some linen pieces as well.

All this and home before lunch!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Sydney Film Festival: Farewell Clare Stewart

The 2011 Festival brings to a close the five year tenure of Clare Stewart as Festival Director.

It has been an era of change with Clare extending the focus of the festival to single ticket holders and implementing the very successful Competitions. As a subscriber these changes may have reduced my personal menu at each festival but increased it's breadth by providing a wider range of experiences. I have even learned to love my new subscriber home in the Mezz instead of the Dress Circle.

The competitions in particular have bought a range of new generation films - some not to my taste - but that is what the festival is all about seeing new cinema. There has also been a revival of the festival with Sydney - many people are taking in screenings and other events associated with festival.

We have noted her style and wardrobe favorites (great boots) and have greatly appreciated an evolution of her presentation style with a more engaged and less confrontational approach with the audience. In addition your moderation of Q & A's kept the nonsense questions at bay.

Clare you have steered the festival well helping to keep it afloat when financial difficulties arose and saving I from obscurity. Good luck on your new journey.

Here's hoping the next director is as brave and creative!

Sydney Film Festival Day 11: The Guard

Brendan Gleeson stars as a relaxed small town Irish cop who my have a flexible relationship to the law when it comes to his community and personal life but has a heart when it counts.

His life is turned to chaos when the FBI comes to town in a magic performance by Don Cheadle who is on the trail of drug-traffickers.

A great comedy that slowed only in the first quarter but with enough smarts to make you question a few events in hindsight. A Great Saurday night film!

Sydney Film Festival Day 11: Toomelah

Ivan Sen's Beneath Clouds had me expecting much from this his third feature.

Ambitiously the story was written based on the people and experiences of Sen's mothers community Toomelah. He then used the community to perform in this dramatic production. Following the story of Daniel a young kid whose alcoholic father is mostly absent and whose mother sends him off to the mission drug-dealer for her supply. Daniel seeks friendship with the drug-dealers gang.

The gang is challenged when a rival dealer returns following a stint in prison.

The film would perhaps have been more successful as a documentary showing a frank and bleak picture of daily life it lacks emotional connection.

Sydney Film Festival Day 9: Norwegian Wood

The film is visually stunning full of gorgeous soft shots a totally dreamy endless Japanese winter. The film fails to capture the angst and thrall of the novel but more deeply disappointing was it failed to maintain my interest.

Sadly It failed to live up to my expectations

Sydney Film Festival Day 10: Jane Eyre

Do we need another remake of Jane Eyre - if it's this good yes.

Mia Waiskowski is perfectly pitched as Jane, matched with brave and deliberate editorial decisions by Fukunaga.

Opening with Jane wandering the moors the film is quickly engaging and uses her childhood as back story. Both Michael Fassbender as Rochester and Judi Dench as the housekeeper Mrs Fairfax are spectacular.

The film casts a strong spell and holds you till the end embodying the book and giving us a different vision.

I am a sucker for a good adaptation and this film delivers.

Sydney Film Festival Day 10: Take Shelter

Take Shelter is a brilliantly crafted thriller that is made so by a stunning performance from Michael Shannon.

Curtis LaForche (Shannon) is a working class guy from middle America his dreams become increasingly ominous and disturbing, eventually becoming daydreams as well. with a family history of mental illness he is concerned that he is following his mother's path.

The films soundtrack and vision is captivating and enthralling a brilliant piece that I felt was left down by it's cop-out ending.

Sydney Film Festival Day 8: Cairo 678

A film that tackles a taboo subject in the middle east is always going to be a festival drawcard.

The film is a strong piece that transcends the necessary message and engages you with a brilliantly developed group of characters.

Sexual harassment is rife in Egypt, only no-one reports it as it will bring shame to them and their family. Three women from different walks of life face sexual harassment in their day and the film shows how each deals with it. Inevitably they come together as a group and the outcome is played out with a brilliantly rendered detective investigating a series of revenge assaults.

Rendered with the right blend of humour and sensibilities Cairo 678 is a great film on it's own, but obviously a film that Egypt had to have.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Sydney Film Festival Day 7: The Tree of Life

Wow this film is amazing.

Visually stunning and the sound and the score are powerful.

The film shows glimpses of a remembered family life in the 50's birth, 3 sons playing, fights and the family hearing of the death of one son, more glimpses of one of the brothers looking back for memories that then involves a section that appears to show evolution of the earth and various creatures and then more family.

Dreamlike sequences of seraching the desert and then a coastline that appears to now emphasise more strongly the religious theme embodied by the mother.

The film is dazzling, stunning, confusing and ridiculous. Overly long and a complete overload for the senses.

Attempts to make sense of this film are I believe futile.
Worth seeing yes, expect to be confounded, elated and disappointed.

Sydney Film Festival Day 6: A Separation

An Iranian film of depth and colour. From the opening sequences you are immeresed in a legal dispute. Simin and Nader are seeking a divorce, Simin wants to immigrate with their daughter and Nader is committed to caring for his father who is suffering from Alzheimers. When they are not granted the divorce and told to work it out Simin moves out of the family home and Nader is forced to bring in a carer the outcomes of which embroil them in another legal battle.

The strength of this film is the passion, anger and disappointment are so real you completely forget this is a film. You are frustrated at the unfamiliar laws and the continued conflicts in everyones lives and keep watchin in the hope a resolution can be found. A brilliant touch is the action is allowed to unfold and slowly then the camera will show you one of the two children and you realise they are witnessing their parents behaviour and judging them.


Sydney Film Festival Day 6: Project Nim

Project Nim charts the story of a chimpanzee that is seperated from its mother quite early and reared with humans to see if it will be able to learn to communicate independently using sign-language. During this the film examines the structure of scientific experiments, the impact of environment (house vs classroom) and the ethics of the individuals involved. It highlights the escape of Nim's chimpanzee nature that was unexpected by his teachers and handlers.

This film is a well constructed emotionally engaging piece of filmaking that will introduce a whole generation to the ills of using animals for experiments and the ethics of their treatment before, after and around that fact. As an avid watcher of nature films, specifically those from the seventies, I am not sure this film had anything new to say. Enthralling nonetheless.

I was surprised at the handful of children that were in the audience - firstly as the film festival is strictly over 18s unless specifically identified as a childrens film and secondly as this was really not a child suitable film. Unfortunately the little girl sitting closest to us was quite distressed.

Sydney Film Festival Day 6: Amador

Marcela is a south American immigrant living in Spain with her boyfriend Nelson making money from selling stolen flowers. As she is in the process of leaving him she faints and after being taken to hospital is informed that she is pregnant. She reluctantly returns to her boyfriend to work out what to do. Their refridgerator dies and the urgent need for a replacement sends Marcela out looking for work.

She interviews with a disinterested woman who is looking for someone to look after her aging, ailing father while they build a family house outside the city. He dies early on and Marcela is forced to make a series of decisions.

I found this film was easy to suspend disbelief and follow Marcela through her decisions, the first of which comes easily, but leads to many more complicated ones. The film was blackly funny and an engaging watch.

Fernando Leon de Aranoa the director was delightful in the Q&A and he and and his (very small) entourage were sitting in my row during the screening of Tree of Life last night. Lets just say an interesting experience.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Sydney Film Festival Day 5: Cedar Rapids

Cedar Rapids is a conventional comedy in the tradition of boy-man lead character.

John C Reilly replays his annoying character stance -this time with a heart.
A good laugh but definitely a fish out of water film a the festival.

It does include a few extra laughs for fans of The Wire.

Sydney Film Festival Day 5: The Forgiveness of Blood

Opening with a group of teenagers, the film quickly establishes Albanian teens are no different to others interested in Facebook, computer games attracting girls/guys.

The beauty of this film is that it is told exclusively through the eyes of the teenage son Nik and daughter Rudina. When their father Mark's animosity with a neighbor escalates and results in death a blood feud with the victims family ensues.

The father flees into hiding and according to tradition the older males of the family become a target. Nik is now forced into self-managed home imprisonment. His younger brother and sister are also kept at home. His sister Rudina is sent out to maintain the bread run and the family income.

The impact the prolonged life threatening house-arrest of Nik is played out invoking fear, claustrophobia, and frustration contrasted with the growing courage and creativity of Rudina finding additional ways to supplement the family income.the ending is refreshing and believable.

A totally gripping and perfectly pitched emotionally engaging film.

Sydney Film Festival Day 5: Tabloid

Errol Morris' documentaries extract stories from individuals and appear to leave the audience to judge. Of course, this is deceptive, as editing and graphics will influence your opinion.

The beauty of Tabloid is that truth in this case is unbelievably stranger than fiction. The Mormon kidnapping sex scandal of the sixties coupled with the clone my super dog story is mind-blowing in its perfect insanity.

Taking advantage of the lost, stolen and destroyed evidence the film is reduced to he-said, she-said and you are left to choose just what is the truth!

Entertaining for every minute Tabloid is a must see for documentary lovers.

Sydney Film Festival Day 5: The Target

A beautifully and elaborately constructed first hour introduces the key characters - a government resources minister, his wife and her tv host brother and their high tech, fast-paced entertainment and gambling hungry society.

The key characters seek out "The Target" a leftover experiment from the decay of the Soviet Union that produces a fountain of youth effect. The remainder of the film deals with the after effects - a descent into chaos, extremes and madness and for 2 hopefully an escape and a reunion in the future.

The film itself is visually stunning and the first hour provides much to enjoy, the remaining hour and a half is shambolic and confusing filled with homages to a range o film makers. At well over 2 hours the film is also uncomfortably long and could have benefited from a stronger focus and editing in the second half.

Definitely a film you would only see at the festival

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Sydney Film Festival Day 4: Even The Rain

A passionate film crew go to Bolivia to shoot a film about the Spanish invasion and colonisation of South America and the subsequent Indian uprising.

The locals are caught up in a struggle with an international corporate Water company about access to affordable water.

As beliefs and integrity are questioned the film and the film within a film gallop to their inevitable conclusion forcing the film- makers to work out what they would do in that situation.

Engaging and powerful!

Sydney Film Festival Day 4: The Future

Another film with a split audience reaction.

A 30 something couple are set to adopt an injured cat and are given month before they have to return to the shelter to pick it up.

This event spurs them to realize they are almost at the end of their lives and are not doing what they really want if only they new what it was.

Told with whimsy and humour and interspersed with narrative blocks from Paw Paw ( the cat waiting to be collected). The film is a different twist on the angst of adulthood, responsibility and being a grown up.

I loved it but many didn't.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Sydney Film Festival Day 4

Today's Films

The Future and Even The Rainy

Waltzing Matilda & Happy Birthday played by 940 saxophonists

Laurel Tam/Beret in Malabrigo Worsted for World Wide Knit in Public Day Part 1

Sydney Film Festival Day 3: POM Wonderful Presents: The Greatest Movie Ever Sold

Spurlock returns with another playful yet serious documentary. What worked for Supersize Me but didn't for Where is Osama bin Laden works again in this case.

You can't help but laugh as he attempts to not sell out whilst selling every aspect of his film. Hide ability to question his own integrity whilst driving mini-coopers, drinking only POM: Wonderful and

It is really no surprise in this advertising savvy society that everything in film is for sale for a price. True moments of insight come from brand power brokers who can shut down a film that might be adversely representing a brand and the city of Sao Paulo Brazil which has banned all outdoor advertising - it looks amazing!! A new campaign for Get-Up perhaps.

Interviews with directors like Tarrantino and Peter Berg are matter of fact and entertaining whilst admitting that brand and placement is just par for the course these days.

The best moments come when the brands let Spurlock's team are left to their own devices. humor abounds. No shocks but Noti a bad few hours in the cinema.

Sydney Film Festival Day 3: Sleeping Beauty

So how to describe this film. Let's start with opinions were divided, completely and utterly divided.

The film is being hailed as cutting edge and courageous, sorry I just don't see it. A self-involved, self-contained university student with a penchant for risky activities who seems to be willing to do anything ( established early with science experiments, a cafe closing, an office and a bar scene) is the main character.

It follows her slowly increasing involvement with a new employer where she graduates from lingerie waitress at private dinner parties to Sleeping Beauty, where drugged she sleeps through encounters with men (there is a rule for her protection).

A series of random events about a young woman exposing herself to exploitation that offers no insights. Disappointing and to be honest if a man made it we would probably be protesting in the streets.

Some fine performances and the detail built into each scene is not enough to rescue this film from its lack of direction.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Sydney Film Festival Day 3 ( my day 2)

Today's Films

Sleeping Beauty that met with much controversy and criticism at Cannes followed by Pom Wonderful Presents: the greatest movie ever sold by Super Size Me director Morgan Spurlock. An exploration of product placement, brand promotion and sponsorship in film done his way!

Festival Companion - Drk


Kaffe Fassett stripy socks -sock 2

Selected Music
The Cure - just Like Heaven
Mark Seymour - Home Again
Michael Franti - Everyone Deserves Music

Reviews for my first day are up!

Sydney Film Festival Day 2: Sing Your Song

Sing Your Song commences with a series of quickly flashing jarring images of suffering, protests and confrontation, both a wake-up call and a glimpse of what is to come.

The film is essentially a personal account of Henry Belafonte's lifelong activism as he pursues freedom and equality. The personal costs of this, the break-down of two marriages, are treated matter-of-factly and with dignity. His children speak lovingly and respectfully of his work.

The film chronicles his post-war personal stands against segregation, his work in the freedom movement of the sixties, his passion and involvement in Africa and Haiti. Interviews with other celebrities and fellow activists are touching and detailed.

The music is there but it's secondary to his true purpose!

The strength, determination and single-mindedness are clearly evident and inspirational. At 80, when he is clearly entitled to put his feet up, he continues to work running workshops for the elders and then the young addressing the growing incarceration problem in the U.S.

Much of the films sequences are topped and tailed by Monologues by Belafonte talking direct to camera ( an implied but not heard interviewer), indulgent- probably but at his age with his history entirely forgivable.

Highlights include the trip to Mississippi with Sidney Portier to deliver $60000 cash during the Freedom Summer, his ongoing relationship with Nelson Mandela, and footage of an 80's trip to Ethiopia coupled with current interviews of their companions ( watch for the doctor that travelled with them - still moved to tears over 20 years later).

A long film but a moving one showing Belafonte's unwillingness to put his feet up when there is still work to be done!

Sydney Film Festival Day 2: Attenberg

Attenberg follows the story of a 23 year old woman in an unattractive, industrial seaside town in Greece. Dealing with her fathers steadily declining health and her own limited experience.

The lead actress is convincingly emotionally detached and heart-breakingly awkward. Small near perfect Moments of sweetness, family connection and humour are drowned out by long drawn out sequences, incoherent segments and a hundred other mediocre ideas all given a share of time.


Note: There are a series of scenes where the lead character and her best friend walk endlessly back and forward imitating animals. They where the same dresses that apart from colour are perfectly matched. great care has been taken to match their heights with slightly different boots, the finishing point of the boots and the dress length ( a detail noted for Miss Fee!!). At no other point in the film did the lead actress on anything other than jeans, shirt and jumper. Bizarre and distracting

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Sydney Film Festival Day 1 Coming Up

Films Today

Attenberg from Greece with a character who adores Attenborough documentaries and lives a relatively isolated life.

Sing Your Song a doco about Harry Belafonte - so some great music

Festival Companion - Gab


Kaffe Fassett stripy socks -sock 2

Selected Music
The Herd - Sum of it All
Billy Bragg - I Keep Faith
Jebediah - Harpoon

I will try to keep up with the reviews!

Preparing for The Sydney Film Festival

Festival Guide - check
Passes - check
Snacks - check
Companions identified and meetings organized - in progress
Knitting - no idea!!!

My thoughts turn to what knitting to take

I learnt last year that trying to knit a big project is madness. It needs to be socks - but which ones. I should be working on the S62011 ......

Watch this space

Monday, June 6, 2011

Film Festival Survival Guide - Subscriber Style

Inspired by Scott Henderson's Festival Ninja's guide over at The vine I thought I should put together mine.

As a subscriber i do manage to avoid a lot of the dashing between venues but here goes

  • Caffeine is both your friend and your enemy. Manage your intake so you still get a decent amount of sleep. Limit your intake or cut right back after 6:30pm

  • For long haul days ( 4 or even 5 films) soup, preferably homemade, and fresh bread are a godsend. A thermos full of tea or coffee is a good investment too.

  • Know your terrain - from the State Theatre identify quick and easy food runs, sit down for coffee/tea or even drink locations (i like them quiet!).

  • Fun Size chocolates are a great and convenient snack. Not too much sugar but enough to get you between a couple of movies.

  • Water, Water, Water always take water with you.

  • Bathrooms can be difficult to get to because of the way them move people in and out of venues. Know where they are and plan to use them.

  • Schedules - Competition films and sold out films will make getting into the theatre a little more of a challenge. Red Carpets take up a heap of space and will drive you to the George Street end of Market Street. Be aware of sold-out films and give yourself some extra time to get into the cinema.

Hope you enjoy your festival experience.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Moving Right Along

The last few weeks have been about mainly one thing moving our office culminating in a few very long work days over last weekend.

I have compensated for the lack of knitting time with some shopping (online).

I bought some brooches off etsy (below as pendants) and they are really great.

I have also bought an insane amount of yarn.
* Cascade 220 with Miss Fee
* Old Maiden Aunt Alpaca Silk (inspired by Lyns)
* Madelinetosh Eyre Light in Tart
* Madelinetosh Alpaca Sport in Iris
* Bendigo Luxury in Black
* Rowan Felted Tweed

Now I am trying to work out how to fit knitting in around work and the film festival. Starting in 3 days.