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Name: knitabulous
Location: Mt Keira, New South Wales, Australia

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Finding your tribe

31 Jul 2005

So yesterday was snb. New venue, new faces and lots of fun. I even had a bloody mary with my knitting - cool. At yesterday's meeting there were SIX knitbloggers! I met Donna and Justine in the flesh so along with the tiger, donni, ruby girl and myself there were six of us. Vive la knitting blog community!

When I got home I had a stark revelation. I have found my tribe! It's not just the knitting either, although having that in common is a great start, there's more than that.

I would have met Sharon anyway, she lives across the road after all. I would have waved and smiled on the odd occasion when I saw her loading/unloading the kids/groceries out of the car. I can't say for sure I would have ducked over there at least four times a week like I do now, poking my head through the back door (the back door! you know you're a proper friend when you can do that!) offering scones, coffee or enquiring about a knitting pattern or whether she's up for the walk we have been taking lately. No I can't say we would have been on those terms if it weren't for snb. Strange really, that being neighbours is no longer a pre-requisite to getting to know someone like it would have been for women in the fifties say.

Ditto Donni. I would have walked past her market stall on Fridays in the mall. I more than likely would have looked at her wares. If I didn't knit I probably wouldn't have talked to her as much as I did on our first meeting but our paths would have crossed anyway. So the knitting brought us together (like a cosmic force in the grand plan of our lives). Donni to me now is the only person (including my mother) who has ever said to me "You look tired. I'll take Blair for the afternoon and you can have a rest". I almost cried on the spot I was so moved by this simple act of kindness.

In a way, these blogs enable us to get to know each other more deeply than if we just met for coffee at playgroup or whatever. For example, if you saw Sharon and her husband walking down the street together you would immediately know there was a strong and triumphant history there between those two. (Go to her blog, it's not my story to tell.) But if she were only my neighbour, I would never have asked her about it: way too intrusive, impolite and possibly cause her embarrassment - the fear of which holds us all back in lots of ways. Reading her story on the blog is a bit like reading her mind and it tells much much more about someone than the spoken word could ever hope to communicate. I feel like I know Sharon better than I know some friends I have had for twenty years. Because I can read her mind you see.

I myself put much more personal things down in this forum than I would chatting to my friends over coffee. Strange really, given that it is so public. I think it's the anonymity, you can write anything you like and you can't see the reaction of people reading it. In real life, if you said something offensive or inappropriate or raved on for too long about your feelings about this or that, you could tell by the reaction whether you needed to get a cork in it. People may read and snigger over the blogs, but they rarely make a snide comment telling you to pull your head in.

As a result of this, people who read these blogs are getting the real deal about the writer, and they can take it or leave it. The written voice is a truer reflection of what someone is like as a person than any impression you may get from meeting them in the flesh.

So, anyway, I came home from snb and tried to explain all this to my husband. He is happy that I am happy, but he doesn't really get it. When I am with my knitting friends, (and I mean not only the ones mentioned here but all the others as well) I always come home from snb thinking "that was great. I would like to spend some more time with x person or y person, I really enjoyed their company today."

Let me tell you it is a complete turnaround from what I normally say when I return from a group situation (take school canteen committe meetings for example - likely to lead to the expulsion of my child if I said what I really thought about those people). Usually I come home with all sorts of complicated rants about my appearance, my overbearing personality, my loudness, my impatience with stupidity and the enormous amount of it I was forced to endure.

I never never never feel this after snb. I always return feeling energised, inspired and positive. Yesterday my husband thought I was drunk. Sadly he was mistaken. I wasn't drunk, I was just happy. I have found my tribe at last.


And I have some knitting to show you as well. When I'm up to it.
And there are pictures of us too on the other blogs, go check them out.

And another thing

28 Jul 2005

My last post said I had only two WIP's. That would be a total lie.

Current WIP's

Baby cardigan in cerise handdyed.
Mystery shawl about to start.
Bear Claw Blanket.
Big crochet afghan.
Louis' Sweater from Rowan kids.
Lace shrug from Summer IK staff projects.
The other sock (times three)

I feel cleansed now. Phew.

Hello Secret Pal!

Hey you SP5 of mine. My second package arrived yesterday, thank you so much!! NORO kureyon, I have never had this before and feel very excited about making something from this. Felted phone sac comes to mind immediately. Gorgeous moody colourway also. The magazines have been devoured by me and Donni and Sharon and Kerry, we did that on Tuesday night at spinning. AND I am into that project journal. Loving me that stitch n bitch phenomenon. Coffee - marvellous. I have already had a relaxing candlelit bath with some of the tealights, they really give off a strong scent which was fabulous. The sweets didn't last long, gobbled up by some urchins I found in the jungle (aka my kids). You're doing a great job my new friend!

I joined a knitalong the other day. The mystery shawl knitalong. You get a bit of the pattern at a time, at the moment there's a test swatch, the whole shebang starts on the 1st August. I have done the swatch, it's blocking as we speak. I get the feeling I'm going to be a tink expert participating in this group. More on this later over the weekend when I get some pictures.

Stitch and Bitch on Saturday, I am really excited about it. We are moving to a new venue, are having at least one guest from blogland and I have NOTHING TO WEAR!!!!!

This post must end immediately. Not enough points of interest to sustain even my own attention.

I shall leave you with this to ponder upon:

"You look nice today. You should wear that more."

My brain is a tangled mess

23 Jul 2005

I have a million posts in my head and none of them will come out properly.

One is about how entering the world of blogging and knitting and getting to know (and even just stalking by stealth) all you wonderful people has enriched my life no end.

Another is about the feeling of elation I had when a friend who I have met thru this knit business told me about the acronym 'PLU' - meaning people like us. To my knowledge nobody has ever thought of me as being in the PLU group. See? I told you this post doesn't make sense.

Another is about how much I love looking at knitting gadgetry. All those cool companies making funky stuff. Yarn snippers, notecards, needle storage, stitch markers, row counters, wooden needles, shiny circulars, needles looking like crayons. Of course it's all related to shopping and the 'new market' experience. When I was pregnant I found fascination from the 'new market' of baby stuff and the more I saw the more I wanted. Same with homewares when we bought our first house. Ditto wall paint. but now, there's knitting stuff, and the internet as vehicle for knowledge. What an addictive combination.

Another is about how much time I spend on the computer. And how guilty I feel about it.

Another a photoblog about my current WIP's. I have a poncho/capelet (I left it at a friends house and haven't picked it up yet), the bear claw blanket from Spring IK (love this knit, should devote entire post to it but probably won't be arsed). Yes, only two.

Another is about me liking knitting for knitting's sake, not the result of the garment. This is me all over - it satisfies my OCD tendencies. In fact, I could probably happily knit the same yarn over and over again if it was nice enough. I don't really give a toss about the finished item. I give nearly all of them away anyway.

Another is my love of the smell of silk. Others think it stinks. I personally can't get enough of it. It is an odd and distinctive smell but I like it anyway.

I love every single one of the other stories I have read about people's lives 10 yrs ago, 5 yrs ago etc etc. I have only participated in one of these tag things and I think it is the best one I have ever seen.

And so on. I can't get anything together so I don't write anything at all.

But I do have something to show you. This is the colour Donni helped me dye the colour your own secret pal yarn I recently recieved. Isn't is gorgeous?

I got tagged by Glacia

17 Jul 2005

10 years ago: I was living in London, working my arse off and partying like Claire Swires. I had just started a relationship with the man to whom I am now married, technically my boss, and married to someone else. Oops. I make that sound worse than it was, they were separated (by about a week) when we got together. There were no children. I was working for an American oil company in a new business area and the office was staffed pretty much solely by Australian, Kiwi and South African travellers. We worked like dogs every day and drank like fish every night. We were each others families, all orphans of choice in a foreign country. There were romantic trysts, impassioned break-ups, intense discussions on love and foreign affairs. I saw the queen walking the corgies out of the window of my office block (well it was an older lady in a mac and with a scarf on her head and a walking stick and it was in the garden of Buckingham Palace - it is likely to have been her). We earned a fortune and blew the lot at Terence Conran restaurants and bars, on Joseph suits, Ghost dresses and expensive stillettos. It was the start of the Cool Britannia era, and we were all too cool for school. Oasis and Blur, Suede and Catatonia, Robbie Williams was still in Take That. I led a charmed and intoxicating life - I loved it. I was thin.

5 years ago: I was eight months pregnant with my second child, a girl called Blair. After marrying in London in 1997, we had moved back to my home town in Australia in 1998 when I was pregnant with my first child, a boy called Louis. I wanted to give my children a free and easy childhood with fresh air and surf. Blair was born in August 2000. We had built a new house and had been living in it for one year. I was working at the local council as a public servant accountant. I was struggling with the suburban turn my life had taken. I was overjoyed with motherhood, but I felt stifled by the small town mentality and what I percieved as boringness of my colleagues. I wasn't too popular at work I don't think. They all thought I was 'up myself' - I thought I would commit suicide if my life was as boring as them. My work was mundane and unsatisfying. I was enormous.

1 year ago: We had committed to buying the house we live in now. Trouble was, we had not yet sold our other house (the one we built). We thought this would be no problem, as we weren't due to settle until October. How wrong we were. I think I timed the listing of our house sale perfectly with the collapse of the property market, we were looking down the barrel of financial disaster. Our marriage was not holding up too well under the pressure. I was working two part-time jobs, one at the local university, and one at my old office, having quit fulltime work the year before. My son had started school in January and wasn't settling in as well as I had assumed he would. My self-esteem was in the gutter. I really really really hated ageing, I found new faults in my appearance every day. I was taking strong diet pills. I had a lump in my breast (turns out was nothing).I think back now and find I could easily have been clinically depressed most of last year.

Yesterday: I dressed my son up as Ron Weasley and went to the local library for the HP launch. I think I was as excited as he was. We bought one copy and borrowed one copy and I sat and read the whole thing. I can't wait for my husband to finish it so we can talk about it.

Today: I did some washing, some shopping for school things and bought some new gym clothes. Wrote on the blog and did this meme. Still time for some knitting and a drink or two.

Tomorrow: After taking Louis to school I'm going to swankygym and then I promised Blair we would do some craft together. I will probably walk with the fantastic knitting friend I have across the road in the evening.

5 snacks I enjoy: Cheese and bikkies, dips (especially middle eastern ones), Potato chips (although I try not to eat them), rice crackers and Reeces peanut butter cups.

5 bands/singers that I know the lyrics of MOST of their songs: Meatloaf (typical Aussie eighties bogan chick), Cold Chisel (typical aussie eighties bogan chick), the Smiths (angry teenager), Oasis (drunk) and Billy Bragg (political activism and folk music - my favourites!).

Things I would do with $100,000,000: That is the most ridiculous amount of money. I would fix up the house, set ourselves up with income producing investments, do the same for my sister and parents, and in laws. I would buy some properties in favoured locations and send my kids to a better school.

I would pay to have Bush out of office.

I would give the rest away to charities involving helping stop children starving and living in poverty.

5 locations I'd like to run away to: Paris, Milan, Barcelona, Marthas Vineyard and London.

5 bad habits I have: I smoke in secret, I love spending too much money, I whinge, I don't do enough housework and I hate getting out of bed in the morning.

5 things I like doing: Knitting, drinking wine, eating good food, reading/writing and going on posh holidays. (yes that's six)

5 things I would never wear: Anything orange, hiking boots with jeans (unless hiking), the shell suit, a fur coat or a g-string leotard.

5 TV shows I like: House, Survivor, that funny show with portia di rossi sort of like a documentary, the office (the UK one, the US one is a crap knock-off), Silent Witness.

5 movies I like: Truly Madly Deeply, the talented Mr Ripley, gattaca, american beauty.

5 famous people I'd like to meet: Simon Cowell (I bet he'd be great fun), Micheal Moore (I bet he's a prat in real life), Sir Bob Geldof (but what would I say?), Robbie Williams (I'd get him to sing Angels and then we'd have a drink), the dalai Lama, Mary Magdalene.

5 biggest joys at the moment: my new knitting friends, my two children, the unborn puppy I've ordered, my husband and the fantastic funny memories I have of my life so far.

5 favorite toys: The internet. My knitting blog. I'm a bit stumped here.


Now I'll have to pass it on:

Donni - (I bet we were living around the corner from each other in London!)
Boozehag - who I don't know but I am curious - I bet she's got a good story.

And tigress, I shall ask you in person.

J K Rowling and I are no longer on speaking terms.

So if she calls, please tell her I am washing my hair or something. I can't beleive she could do this to one of her finest.

Up to page 400 or so, I was delighted with this HP instalment, not so sad, not so dark. Plenty of compassion (my favourite emotion)- even for Voldemort. I cried throughout almost the whole of the Order of the Phoenix because I felt so sorry for Harry. He has a good year this year. Then whammo, right in the last 100 pages comes the action. And then the tragic final blow.

I thought this book was different to the previous ones in style and tone, which is good because they were getting a bit 'famous five' for me. I love the way as Harry grows up in these books the first person dialogue matures also, first we had the cheeky boy, then the angry young man coming to terms with his adolescence, and now a much more grown up Harry. Girls like him, Dumbledore has a reliance on and trust in him, acknowledging both his own mortality and the acceptance of Harry as an equal. Harry's even tempered behaviour at the Dursleys' this year indicates his growing strength of character and stoicism in the face of adversity. Harry is almost a man.

Great to see some development in the Ron/Hermione romance area. Very spiderman of Harry to break it off with Ginny because with great power comes great responsibility, or something like that. Relieved to see Ginny did not whine about this. Extremely gratified by the true love story between Fleur and Bill, especially how Mrs Weasley finally accepted Fleur when she realised that the love she had for him was real and unconditional. I see that MIL relationship being very strong in the future. Even Percy visits the family home, and yay! no Hollywood schlock fest teary reunion where they all forgive each other and everything goes back to normal. (As if that ever happens in real life.)

Still coming to terms with what J K Rowling did in the end. I have no doubt this is final (though I wish it weren't). I find there are enough parallels with LOTR for any ressurrection to occur. If I'm wrong then I will more than delighted anyway, but I don't think there is any going back now.

I just wish the next book was on the shelves already, I am dying to know what happens next.

Sorry, I didn't mean for this to become a school essay.

I'm off shopping now for some school uniform bits for Louis back to school tomorrow. There is a possibility of a knitting needle purchase. BUT...........


I have gone a bit berzo in recent weeks in the yarn purchase area. (Shaking fist at Ebay, "Ebay, you wilful jezebel, get thee off my ie favourites! And you too wool peddler. And magazines, how dare you offer subscription online. I am weak.") But methinks I have said too much. There is a possibility that the husband may be lurking here. How many times can I casually say "Oh, that. Someone gave it to me" and get away with it?

16 Jul 2005

No knitting. No blogging. Am inhaling Harry Potter Book.

And now on with the show

15 Jul 2005

On a much much happier note. I have the best secret pal in the SP5 event. (I hear some of you say, "no I have"), but you don't. I do. My secret pal gift was an absolute treasure trove of goodness. Firstly, a big carpetbag - perfect for any size project on the go. Second, THREE!! hanks of alpaca cloud from knitpicks in the yummy colourway called peppermint. TWO hanks of colour your own merino from knitpicks - a perfect opportunity to have a dyeing workshop at home. Coconut (really coconutty too) scented handcream - delish. Pen and notepad - handy. Cutesy little egg which you crack open and plant seeds and water and flowers grow out of the egg - educational. A book full of knitting anecdotes - can't do better than that. Posh chocolate as well. Sheepy card. One very sophisticated package, I must say.

And what do you do when you get three hanks of alpaca cloud in the colour of your choice? You make the skinny clapotis you've been dreaming about for months. I think it's fair to say this is my favourite thing I have ever made.

Yesterday I met up with some friends (The usual suspects - I only have three friends.) We talked craftiness and refereed toddler wars. Excelent way to spend an morning.

I was privy to something very very special. I won't talk about it right now because it's gifts for other secret pals but the crafty goddess across the road and the entrepreneur from a few suburbs north have gotten together to make one of the grooviest things I have come across in some time. I predict a great deal of commercial merit. These two are a great team, I feel proud to know them both.

I'm glad I didn't go to the knitty coffeeshop forums and dare to say that they didn't adore the men issue.

This bullying really got on my nerves. I have a plan to get this off my chest. I am being deliberately vague here because I am afraid of all of them bitches.

Addendum to previous post: It is with deep sadness that I say that one of the missing from the London attacks is a young 28yo man who worked in the head office in London of the company my husband is with (in Sydney). He did not make it to work on Thursday and has not been seen since. Their offices are at Paddington. Alan had never met him, nor I of course, but still it's way too close to home.

It isn't all about me

8 Jul 2005

To paraphrase the words of a man who I don't usually find that clever.....

It is a cruel and intended irony that on the day the leaders of the eight most powerful countries met to discuss the logistics of an agreed outcome - to pardon the foreign debt of the worlds poorest countries, an act which (regardless of whether it is the best solution) in essence is in the spirit of compassion and understanding, is the same day that a highly organised group of extremists plan and execute a mission to kill and maim innocent ordinary people going about their usual daily routines.

September 11 - I cried like they were my brothers and sisters, yet I knew no-one. Thousands of innocent lives. Madrid 11 March - 191 bombed to death on a train. 12 October 2003 when the Sari club in Bali was bombed killing at least 86 of my countrymen and some 126 more of your brothers and sisters. And now this.

I watched in sickening awe as this scene in London played itself out, the gruesome and inevitable growing list of fatalities showing up in the tasteless and disgusting media feeding frenzy.

There are so many things wrong with what is happening in the world today I can't even begin. The reports that the British emergency services have performed an outstanding and highly professional job give cold comfort, although they make me proud anyway.

Make no mistake, there are millions of people in this world that hate the western lifestyle and beliefs enough to strap explosives to themselves and happily make the ultimate sacrifice in order to make their point. Their mothers are proud. They see victory in the destruction of our families and our sense of security. I'm not speculating on who has the moral ground - I'm saying this is wrong, wrong, wrong.

The search for Osama Bin Laden has been put in the too hard basket, duplitiously substituted for a war in Iraq which doesn't stand up to political scrutiny. In response, Iraqi troops slice off the heads of our civilian prisoners and film it for us all to watch on CNN, although this is unrelated to the bombings of which I speak now.

I beleive in a religion that teaches me to turn the other cheek, and so I continue to do so. Ask not to be consoled as to console. Love your enemy. Do good to those who hate you.

Because in doing so, you will prove that you will never, never, never, never, surrender.

Hug your kids and loved ones tight tonight - this is the context of their future.

5 Jul 2005

Frogs and fridges and fulltime employment

3 Jul 2005

I have been working fulltime for two and a half weeks. How rude! Let me tell you I never want to go back to that again. My CV reads like this: I worked in a supermarket while I was at high school. I started working in an office fulltime when I finished high school, did my degree part-time, went overseas and worked in London, had a six month break when I had Louis, went back to work fulltime, worked during my second pregnancy and had a year break when Blair was born, and went back to work for two years after that. My husband has a long commute, so he is gone at 6:30am and is not home again till 7:30-8:00pm. I was cranky all the time, my sleep was fitful and I had insomnia, I screamed like a banshee at the husband and the children, and we ate a lot of takeaway, for which I felt incredibly guilty. Almost three years ago I was given a project to complete for which I had absolutely no skills, training or support. Having a personality like mine, I was so frozen with fear I couldn't even look at it, convinced that I had no aptitude for the task - also I NEVER ask for help. So I had been churning up about this project, day and night, putting it off, procrastinating, for months.

One Friday I went in to the office and got out all the paperwork, rolled up my sleeves and decided I was going to knock it over by hook or by crook. I began researching, looking at previous years workpapers etc etc etc, realising with relief that I could probably do it if I put my head down. Then a thought suddenly hit me (ah yes it does happen from time to time). This is a waste of time. If I fail at this task, these people will crucify me. I use more energy worrying about what these people think and my performance at work than I do about my family. And these people don't deserve it, they think no-one is indespensible and here in the office they are right - no matter how many hours I put in at this desk they don't care because there are others in line willing to do the same. But there is one place where I am not indispensible and I am never there. The twistedness and wrongness of my priorities suddenly became crystal clear and I walked into the manager's office and resigned right then and there. I didn't even ask my husband for his opinion ( I later realised this was quite rash - but that's part of my personality as well).

Oh my god the relief! And then there were the agonising final two weeks working your notice period where nobody wants to know you because you are leaving - they're either jealous or feel betrayed and the awful awkward leaving do involving a speech your manager doesn't want to make, a speech you don't want to make, and a bunch of colleagues only there for the cake. I went to the pub with the stalwarts and got riotously drunk at lunchtime. I cleared my desk somewhat under the weather, the only way to do it I firmly believe.

So now, any work I get freelance or whatever is a bonus, and I do it on my terms. I won't go in every day because I have to do the swimming, dancing, sport taxi thing. I don't want it all. I don't care if I have to make compromises financially, I have been brainwashed by magazines and advertising to want all this excess consumption anyway. I don't need the designer clothes I used to buy, I don't need to drive an M class Mercedes, I don't need to buy a pair of shoes every week, the suburban hairdresser acquantance is just as good as the ridiculously expensive celebrity hairdresser (ok -this one is totally untrue), and nobody cares if the kids aren't in DKNY or Paul Smith at birthday parties.

I am a much happier, calmer and more loving person as a result of this. It may not be for everyone, but it works for me. And husband gets a bit more of my time too, for which I presume he is grateful.

Anyway, I did some frogging on Thursday night. I piled it all up on a table and my daughter said to me, "did you make that castle?" so, here it is, the yarncastle.

Just to give you some idea of the volume of yarn I emancipated; here's what some of it was before:

The blanket is my oldest unfinished object. I realistically reasoned that I was never going to finish it so I frogged it. The wrap thing was the fruit of my first knitalong. I finished, wore it once and hated it. It's back on the needles though as the poncho from the same pattern leaflet. I don't usually like ponchos but I think this one might be okay.

And finally, since I am so happy that blogger has come to the picture party and made it so easy to post pictures on the blogs I took some more photos. Here's what my family room would look like if I didn't have a family. It was tidy like this for about ten seconds.

Here's whats in my fridge:

Glamour item: wild hibiscus flowers in syrup - they bubble up and open in the bottom of champagne flutes - tres chic darling.
Ocker Item: Tooheys New - man beer.
Hippy item: tossup between homemade pumpkin soup and organic tahini.
Most embarrassing item: slimy salad vegetables in the bottom.
Oldest item: half jar of pesto - at least 18 months old, it came from the previous

So there you go. Tomorrow we may talk about Tom Cruise, Shane Warne, friendship and tv. Be good my lovelies.

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