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

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Knitting Alone
Knitspot Morning Glory Wrap Frost Flowers and Leaves Pomatomus Socks One Day
Sarcelle A different Phildar swing jacket - No 23A Donyale Socks

turning tides

28 Feb 2006

I almost broke up with knitting. I think I had some sort of midway relationship crisis with it, I wanted something sexier, new and fresh - knitting was, well, boring. I wanted to make a quilt. I wanted to paint a picture. Anything but the knitting.

So, I had a fling. An illicit affairette. I did this. Oh and it was so wonderful, so liberating. There was no wrist pain, I could still count away to my borderline ocd's little heart's content, and the size! Tiny, finished in a matter of days. No commitment, no ties, just almost instant gratification and then it's over.

But today I heard a yarn in the naughty cupboard talking to the others. "Impudent tart", she said "She just does whatever she pleases, I mean cross stitch for heaven's sake! All the while I wait here trying to look my best, trying not to age or anything, just so that when the door opens she might deign it upon herself to use me next. Well I'm sick of it. I'm going to revolt against her, whose with me?"

I opened the cupboard. "Who was that?" I asked the yarns. Predictably, there was no reply. But I saw one little ball in there trembling, a little navy ball - one previously overlooked for the brighter more vibrant colours next to her. I picked her up. She was soft, squishy. On closer inspection I deemed her shade to be classic, masculine, timeless.

I cast on for a little swatch. Just a little one, mind you. For old times' sake. And what marvel started slowly growing from the bottom of the needle! Stitch definition like never seen before, smooth silky softness, perfect twist in the yarn. Cashmerino.

So I started begging the knitting to take me back. I hope it can forgive me, I was weak, it didn't mean a thing to me. It doesn't mean I didn't love it, does it?

Does my bum look big in this??

24 Feb 2006

Second finished knitted project for 2006.

Pattern: Aran Lace Cardigan from the elann website. Free.
Yarn: Filatura di Crosa Ramie/Wool blend. From stash, a secret pal gift from Celia. I used less than four balls for the whole cardigan.
Alterations made to the pattern:
I ignored the changing of the needles gradually instructions and knitted a single ball on 5mm and then went straight to 6mm circulars. I started the sleeves on a circular and found that I didn't know how to do two sleeves on two circulars and don't know the magic loop either, so I ditched them both for a set of humungous dpns (7mm) and did each sleeve separately on those.

Also, I wouldn't call this a pattern per se, it's more a set of guidelines really. Quick to knit, with a pleasing result, I'd do another one in an instant. Except I'm embroidering right now.

Can you tell I hate getting my photo taken? The stripey tiger kindly held the camera in her back yard to take the pics, and for that I am very grateful.

Nothing to say? Quote someone else

DESIDERATA (copyright)

truth quietly & clearly; and listen to others, even the dull & ignorant; they too have their story.

=== Avoid loud & aggressive persons; they are vexations to the spirit. If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain & bitter; for always there will be greater & lesser persons than yourself. Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.

=== Exercise caution in your business affairs; for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals; and everywhere life is full of heroism.

=== Be yourself. Especially, do nor feign affection. Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all aridity & disenchantment it is perennial as the grass.

=== Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth. Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue & loneliness.

=== Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

=== Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you coneive Him to be, and whatever your labours & aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.

=== With all its sham, drudgery & broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be careful. Strive to be happy.

This poem was NOT found in old saint Paul's church in Baltimore in 1692 as is almost always quoted. It was in fact written in 1927. Ehrmann's original 1927 copyright was renewed in 1954 by Bertha Ehrmann, and is now held by Robert L. Bell of Sarasota, Florida.

Domesticity - the other side

20 Feb 2006

Today is the first day Blair has spent the whole day at school. It's almost time to pick her up.

I've been for an hour long walk with heart-rate increasing hills, there's washing up in the sink, who knows where the laundry floor is, have no idea what's for dinner. I'm wearing no makeup and just got out of the smelly sweats about half an hour ago. I am at least 25 kilos overweight and have not had a haircut since October.

And when husband comes home from his 13 hour day at the officeand very long commute I'll first whinge about the kids, tell him apologetically that there's no dinner because I was too tired. But he will get this:

"Look honey, I taught myself to do counted cross stitch on this beautiful linen I bought at the craft fair and the pattern is going to be a lovely celtic heart which I intend to frame and hang it on that little wall next to the kids bathroom. I always thought we needed something there. What do you think? Do you like it?"

Oh yes, he's got a trophy wife all right. (Snort)


14 Feb 2006

There is no valid reason for posting this entry except for the feeling of sweet revenge and somehow having both the first and the last say in an ongoing and one-sided argument. Being aware of this is not going to make me not do it. Don't read on if equity in household chores is of no interest to you.

Frustrating habit 1.
To my knowledge, my husband has never closed a door or turned a light off. As a result, I can always tell what he's been doing by the trail of open doors and switched on lights in the house.

For example, the other night he popped out in the car to get some milk. For me and the kids of course - he has no use for it himself, for it is a truth universally known that a married man has a milk fairy who ensures that milk carton is a magicically replaced upon draining of said contents.

Upon his return he promptly went back to whatever he was doing before he left. I found the garage door open (it's electric with the remote inside the car), driver's door of car open, entry to house open, kitchen door open and milk placed in centre of kitchen counter like an offering to the breakfast cereal gods.

Of course I had to act like getting the milk was as heroic an act as discovering a cure for the common cold.

Frustrating Habit 2. (this one is pretty disgusting)

I am sure I am the only person who ever flushes any of the four toilets in this house. One more little suprise like that and I'm going to choose a toilet and ban all the others from it.

Except this would have no effect on anyone but me.

Frustrating Phenomenon. (leading on from previous but not so disgusting)

Last weekend I bought twelve toilet rolls. They are all gone. I want to find the culprit so badly I'm wondering if it would be too loony to issue one to each child and making them 'take their own' so when they run out they have to sign for another one.

There are more. But these are the biggies on my mind today.

You have no idea how much better I feel.

(And if my mil is reading this, don't go doing any happy dances just yet - we're still good. Mwah mwah mwah)

I forgot a bit

Oh, and by the way, the blog had it's first birthday earlier in the month. No presents, no party, no cards.

Well it's not as if it's a PERSON, is it?

Chinese New Year

12 Feb 2006

One of the very few things my husband and I have in common (opposites attract couldn't be more true than at my place) is that we both like a nice Sunday drive and a picnic. I was brought up on this, we went on a family outing of some sort every Sunday. I love it because if I drive two hours in any direction from where I live, there is magic and beauty of such diversity that it never fails to leave me in awe and make me feel rich. Obviously I'm not talking about money here.

Right, so the weekend before last we went to Sydney to watch the Chinese New Year parade and partake in a little cultural diversity. It was a great day.

We watched the parade from the side of Market City, where the cable car goes past and the monorail is above your head. There were dragons and drums and crackers, but my favourite was the chinese adoption group. Lots of prams with little innocent faces, and lots of proud grateful adults pushing those prams with love and showing great respect for the cultural origins of their adopted children. So many different kinds of families; mixed race, caucasion, single-sex partnerships - and so much acceptance. You'd have to be dead not to feel the love. Nearly brought me to tears.

When hunger prevailed, we went to yum cha at the Marigold - the wait in the line was an hour long and even with the bored hungry kids but it was so worth it. They delighted in all the little things in the restaurant; the fortune cats, the banners in chinese, the lanterns - even the super efficient and borderline gestapo waiters.

The guys put on a bit of theatre when they cleared the table, whipping the dirty table cloth off without moving the plates and then another guy swept the dishes away and he set the table again like shuffling a pack of cards. Louis and Blair thought it was the coolest thing.

Then when the trolleys came around Louis was peering into each one, wanting to try it all. We had squid, steamed sweet bean buns, noodles, gow gees, bbq pork, that yummy stuff wrapped in banana leaves and a big plate of steamed chinese greens. I nearly burst with pride when both of the kids deemed the chinese greens to be the best thing they have tasted for ages and piled their plates high with the dark green leaves. I love to see kids eating their greens, it's such a challenge for a mother to get them to do it. Louis even drank the tea and tried the XO sauce. He even wanted to go the chicken feet (and so would I) but Alan wasn't so keen and Blair was just shocked at the whole idea.

While we were sitting there, I noticed a famous person in the line waiting for a table. Sydney is so not L.A! You wait like everyone else here. Claudia Carvan and her pregnant belly, her daughter and two scruffy looking blokes waited in the line and were seated just like everyday people. Chinese restaurants, the great levellers.

On that note, it must have been good-looking person's day out last weekend. So many beautiful people.

We wandered through chinatown, there was heaps going on so it was a lot of fun. Then we had a ride on the monorail, an ice cream and went home.

Top family entertainment.

A fortnight of knitting - 3

Six weeks of the year over and I finally have one finished project! This is the second Mystery Shawl, previously referred to as my penance knitting. I am so glad this is finished, the border took forever. As I got toward the end I started to get butterflies in my stomach and sweaty palms and I knitted faster and faster way into the early hours to get it finished. I'm such a knitting nerd - does everybody get stupidly excited when you get near the end of a project, or is it because it is such a rare occurrence for me?

Unfortunately I'm not so keen on it, I don't like the way the border is curved at the bottom, and the line where the border is joined to the body of the shawl is too distinct - and it is tiny. Although I did knit it on very small needles (2.25mm), so I expected it to be smaller. It was a mystery and it was free, so complaining about the pattern is both ungrateful and pointless.

And here is the progress on the bear claw blanket. I totally cheated and joined two squares together before the second one was even finished. I just couldn't wait to see whether the picked up edges would be straight when joined to the second block. Then I had to do kitchener stitch to join the two peices together.

Check out the hideous kitchener edge. Maybe I shall call it my wabisabi edge - there is beauty in its imperfection (nice try sunshine). I must have done kitchener stitch maybe ten times in my life. I have to open the book and do it step at a time. I still have no clue how it works and as a result it never comes out right. Anyway, I didn't frog it because I hope it will wash out a bit smoother, and in any case there's about a million of these joins in the whole blanket - two rows of it are 230 stitches long. Even I should have mastered it by then.

It's so soft and going to be so warm. It's going to be a long knit but I'm going to love it so much.

And what's that I hear you say? Is the lace cardigan imploding or am I knitting backwards? I got up to the armpits of this cardigan and realised that I am particularly spatially challenged. I couldn't 'see' how a cardigan knitted in the round with raglan shaping was going to work. So, when I changed needle sizes and got it from a straight to a a circular I could see my raglan lines were not straight. Off to the frog pond. But I've not been dismayed by this stumble, and got right back on that horse. It's actually quite a bit bigger than this pic now - and I hope to finish it to wear to the craft fair I'm going to next weekend.

It appears that I am only working on two projects right now. The lace cardigan has gone from a ring-in project to need it now. That happens to me quite a lot, I'm a fickle knitter.

Finally, another shot of the shawl. Just because it's done.

Life's a breeze at Anytown council

9 Feb 2006

Event 1.
Local Councillor attends charity event where local octogenarian voices the opinion that the signs for our world class Caravan Parks are not prominent enough, leading people to drive right past instead of stopping in our local area and generating more wealth for the region.

Cost of octogenarian's advice: free

Event 2.

Councillor sends email to council manager asking for a report on Caravan Park signage. This is deemed important enough to warrant action.

Cost of email and councillor's time: $50

Event 3.

Council manager orders and 'audit' of caravan park signs.

This reveals that the signs presently erected are NOT OF A CORPORATE NATURE. NOT CONSISTENT WITH CURRENT SIGNAGE POLICY.

Recommendation made in report: works division to remove existing signs. engage graphic designer to create new artwork for signs that comply with the corporate policy. have the panelbeaters at the council workshop make the signs up. have the works division install the signs.

cost of project: Approx $10,000

Event 4.

Manager of Caravan parks indicates that he does not have capacity for $10,000 in the budget for the required signs at present.

the project is referred to the accounting department where they place it on the capital works schedule pending possible approval in the next corporate planning cycle, which is five years away. there are projects that have been on that list for ten years.

cost of administrative effort: free (what else would they be doing with their time?)

Event 5.

Works division remove the Caravan Park signs, and fills holes with concrete regardless of there being no plans to replace the signs. Contractor does a sloppy job and leaves holes in the footpath.

cost of removal: $4,000

Event 6.

pedestrian trips on uneven concrete hole and seeks damages for $25,000.

cost of out-of-court settlement: $8,000

Event 7.

Caravan Parks admin officer asked to draft a letter to octogenarian (almost nine months later) thanking him for his suggestion and informing him that all tourist park signs have been removed at his behest.

Oh the joy of office politics.


"I'm worried about how much time you spend on your craft"

2 Feb 2006

So I'm on the phone to my sister telling her about Blair's first day at school.

I say "so I enrolled in a quilting class, what do you think about that?"

She replied solemnly "I am concerned about how much time you spend on craft".

This raises a few issues to me, and I'm wondering whether they are familiar to you or not.

Firstly, do you feel kind of guilty about how much time you actually spend surfing the craft blogs? I do. I think I spend waaayy too much time reading about the lives of total strangers, to whom I have developed quite a strong affection. Sometimes I think my blog friends (and that includes the ones I never comment on) are my real friends, and my real friends don't know me at all.

This is of course the great internet paradox, they thought it would robotise us all, but they didn't account for all the humanity out there. In reality, the internet is bringing strangers together. However in my case I think it could be at the expense of a richer family life.

Secondly, do people not take your craft seriously enough for your liking?

I have only been knitting for about three years, and really last February was the first time I had ever seen a knit blog. Almost none of my real friends give a rats about my knitting. My very close friend even laughs in my face - "you and your granny knitting" she says - it's an eccentricity they put up with. As I have said before, if I knit in front of my mum or my sister it actually makes them feel angry at me, something I find quite bemusing. Even when I have articles published in the knitting magazines, they roll their eyes and read them under sufferance.

I found myself making excuses to my sister. "I don't knit much at all during the day" I said, "I knit at night after the kids are in bed". This is true mostly - unless of course I am meeting my knitting friends for lunch or coffee (and they're my FAVOURITE days of course).

Maybe I do knit too much, as my mother and sister are convinced. I certainly am quite obsessed with internet yarn stores and craft blogs. I am amassing a yarn stash, I have enough projects planned in the future to take up several years of night knitting.

Hmmm. This has got me thinking.

I can stop any time I want.

Asolutely great post about magic and handmade clothes over at whip up. Head on over and enjoy yourself.

Schooldays are the best days of your life*

My baby went to school today for the first time. I no longer have any pre-school children. Where did those years go?

And me, well I went and enrolled in a quilting class!

*Whoever said that must not have been as naughty as I was in my twenties!

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