Sunday, January 27, 2008

But all my words come back to me in shades of mediocrity

Over it. Seriously.

See this? It's the blasted Radiant Shawl. Please, would someone remind me that just because I enjoyed making a pattern the first time does not mean I'll enjoy it the second time around? Anyway, I was on the last row - the row with the picot edging - when I realised that I was going to run out of wool. About halfway along the row. And I'll be buggered if I'm going out to buy my fifth ball of $10 yarn for this project.

Result? I've ripped back to the next row and will start the picot again. God I hate picot, even if it does look really pretty. I'll finish it off today if it kills me, and I'll block and take photos tomorrow.

The other day Taph wrote a brilliant post about being a process or a product person. I like to think I'm both. For the Radiant Shawl, I'm definitely a product person. But for things like new patterns for socks and scarves, I'm totally process. Is it normal to be this mixed up?

In "I'm a total yarnwhore" news, yesterday I visited Happy Spider and the Bunnies (sounds like a 60s all-girl doo-whopp group) and got this gorgeous handdyed crepe sock yarn.


Isn't it pretty? I love how the orange and green and yellow all blend gently into each other, making me want to make up colour words like grenge and orlow and yelleen. This yarn is my anticipated reward for finishing Radiant and finishing Crocus (there I go doing a pattern for the second time again) by mid February.

The garden is still fruiting like it is expecting armageddon sometime soon. This weekend has been a non-stop Grigliata Mista (mixed grill) - chops, snags, kebabs, grilled eggplant, capsicum, zucchini and tomato using recipes from Tessa Kiros' Twelve. At the moment all our cookbooks are off the shelf and we are trying to find recipes to help us eat from the garden. Yum. And so much fun.

Cornucopia (AKA colander) of vegies

And because you know I love me a good rant, let me direct you to a very honest post written by a crochet designer about her finances and the impact of copying on her income. Those who know me really well know how much I hate people photocopying patterns or copying music and never paying a cent to the designer or musician concerned. I just find it unfair, and while many of the copiers will state that copying is a form of flattery to the originator, I don't think flattery helps feed children or keep the electricity on.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Went the distance, now I'm back on my feet

Minicluster lace socks

These socks have been an Australian Open journey.

They were started on Thursday night during the Safin v Baghdatis match, and completed last night when a Serbian genius finally wiped the court with Lley-Lley's arse.

Both events - the finishing and the wiping - were very satisfying.

In honour of poor Lley-Lley, I dragged myself out of bed this morning to take this photo. Please excuse swollen nose and bad hair - I'm sick.

C'mon Balboa!

C'MON!!!! I am not embarassed to tell you this is what I was yelling out every time I picked up the darning needle to sew these suckers up.

Pattern: Minicluster lace socks from "Crocheted Socks" by Janet Rehfeldt and Mary Jane Wood

Yarn: Cherry Tree Hill Supersock Merino in Heathered Loden. I started with 110g and only have 6g left. Thank God for digital kitchen scales.

Hook: 4mm bamboo for ribbing and 4.5mm bamboo for sock. The original pattern specified 3.5mm so either the designer is dreaming or I'm a tight hooker.

Notes: I made the leg shorter as I knew I had limited yarn. I will definitely use CTH again - it is so soft and it doesn't snag or split. I will also look at making this pattern again - the socks are softer than the usual crocheted sock, and quite stretchy. I'll make them with more foundation stitches next time though as I have trouble getting them over my size 11 foot - unless I can find myself a 4.75mm hook, in which case I'll be peachy keen to just stick with the pattern and ditch the hook recommendations. 5mm would just be ridiculous, don't you think?

Now excuse me while I head back to bed.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Since I caught that eastbound train


When we visited San Francisco in late 2003, I spent an afternoon at the
American Craft Council at Fort Mason and came across the work of an artist named Becky Schaefer. Becky made art which, quite frankly, took my breath away with it's cleverness. She would buy framed or half made tapestries from op shops, and finish them off so they had images on Lara Croft in them. Such as Lara Croft rapelling from a sunflower, or from hot air balloons over an english estate. I really can't describe it very well, but game girl advance does it quite well, and there are more photos!

The reason I brought this up was that I was talking about this artist at SnB last Sunday. So for those who were there and read this, now you know.

The arrival of these today made me very happy. They will be my reward for finishing the show stuff.

Tofutsies = happiness

It's been a tough few days, with my chronic hayfever turning into massive sinus infection. My nose feels (and looks) like someone has biffed me and my forehead feels like my brain is trying to push it's way out. The result is antibiotics and a day off work tomorrow. I anticipate a big sleep-in followed by tennis, snoozing, and finishing the Radiant shawl.

Because the minicluster lace socks are finished, don't you know? More tomorrow ...

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Could it be?

Last night I ripped the sock back to the ribbing.

This afternoon I finished it, all bar the sewing up. I'm waiting to see if I have enough yarn for the other one.

Minicluster lace sock - one almost complete

By the time Baghdatis has finished wiping the tennis court with Lley-Lley's butt, we may have sock number two. Here's hoping...

Friday, January 18, 2008

Could someone glue these shoes to the ground?

I received a letter from the Canberra Show today. All my items for the crochet section in the craft exhibition are due by February 17. That's less than a month away and I've only got two things made. Oh, and another thing? I've entered a pair of socks. I'm sure I didn't do that on the form, but there it was, in writing, from the show people, and those people know what they're talking about.


The other night I finished these:

Crochet socks #2

But I really don't think they are up to "show standard". And I'd started these:

Minicluster lace sock in progress

Which are probably more up to par.

So there you have it. I still have to finish a shawl, start a scarf and finish a pair of socks with a dicky thumb and a full time job. Lucky I'm lovin' the crochet right now ... plus a bad case of hayfever this week has confined me to a closed house, the couch and the tennis all weekend. Woot!

The second part of today's post will include a fiscal lesson. Now I wouldn't know how to balance a household budget to save my life (and they put me in charge of the finances at work - fools!) but I know how to talk my way around a Big Purchase. Luckily for me Mr QM is one who appreciates Fiscal Savings and Good Buying.

So in the last week I've managed to bring home this:

No room at the inn for the sale yarn

And Mr QM goes "OMG are you kidding me?" and I go "(13.50 x 17) + (9.95 x 18) + (6.95 x 20) = $547.60 butlookitonlycost$110!!!! Whatabargainwhatasaving!"

And then all night I keep shaking my head saying "I cannot BELIEVE I got $547.60 worth of yarn for ONLY $110! Can you believe that? Can you?"

Every hour or so should do it. And then once just before he nods off to sleep.

Monday, January 14, 2008

It took me four days to hitchhike from Saginaw

originally uploaded by mfcorwin.

Seventeen years ago today, I started work at a public service department in Canberra. I'd moved from Townsville a week before, living at Gowrie Hostel and being, well, shit-scared. I was alone, thousands of kilometres from my family and my boyfriend, and here I was in a strange city meeting strange people and about to start work in a very strange government department.

And yet I was excited. Canberra was going to give me the freedom to live my life, meet new people, experience new things and think new thoughts which just weren't possible in a North Queensland town.

It certainly lived up to my expectations. Within a week, two other Gowrie tenants and I had moved into a little courtyard house in Kaleen. Other friends from Gowrie moved across the oval, some into the next suburb. When we went out as friends, all twenty of us went together. Dinner parties were only possible if everyone brought a plate and a chair. It was a great time.

1991 was the year I started on my Great Crochet Project. Surrounded as I was by friends and housemates, I think I was actually really lonely. So I decided to make a rug of granny squares. I went to Grace Bros in Belconnen, back when they sold yarn, and bought a lot of Cleackheaton Country in green, blue and burgundy. Then I crocheted a square. Then another.

My friend Naf was my resident nagger. Everytime we saw each other, usually daily, he'ds ask how the rug was going. He managed to guilt me into finishing it, which I think I did by that first Canberra spring in 1991.

By the time I was stitching the rug up, it was so heavy I could barely lift it. It was so heavy the yarn would pull itself out of the square and I'd have to remove a square and remake it. There was no blocking, no thought of how a heavy, holey granny square rug would keep me warm, but I made it and I was proud of that rug. I couldn't put it on my bed without it suffocating me, but it was done and I felt warm having made it.

Years later it was wallowing in the bottom of a cupboard, still unusable as time had not made it any lighter or warmer. By then mum had made me a lighter ripple rug and that was getting plenty of use. Mr QM convinced me that I should send the rug to the salvos where someone could make better use of it. So I donated it. I no longer loved it. The reasons for making it had been forgotten.

I still think of that rug, of making those squares sitting on the floor watching Twin Peaks and Friday Night Football with my housemates seventeen years ago. Of Naf asking me almost daily how the rug was going. Of sketching out the layout of those squares using highlighter pens during work time. Those are the memories I will keep with me forever. I don't need the rug to remind me of them.

Of recklessness and water

IMG_1991, originally uploaded by legothenego.

One of my aims this year was to breathe. Often.

Before Christmas I took up swimming again. Every couple of days I ride to the pool and swim laps. I had to learn to breathe again - fifty metres is a long way to go when you don't breathe.

I follow the tiles and think nice thoughts and stretch and kick and by the end of 16 laps I feel taller and lighter and alive. It's nice.

* * * * * * * * * *
I have a public service announcement to make - I will not be held accountable or responsible for any untoward puchases. Cassidy's at Kingston have some very nice Naturally Me 80% wool 20% cashmere on sale for $2 a ball. Normally $13.50 or something ridiculous like that. I was there on Saturday, and the discovery was enough to make me tell Mr QM to put down the balls of Patonyle because I'd found something much interesting. I bought a couple of bags of lovely kelly green, but they had purple and burgundy and I can't remember what else.

Buying that wool and swimming were the nicest things that happened to me on the weekend. The rest was just revolting and mainly heat related. I'm thinking of ditching Japan and investing in some evaporative cooling ... just so I can have my life back.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Flaming Hook of Justice

I'm not one to swear on my own blog, being a good Christian woman and all. *You, down the back. Be quiet*

But you've got to be fucking kidding me.

A show for knitters, crocheters, spinners and other yarn lovers called "Knitting Daily TV"?

Oh please.

Now where's my flaming hook of justice?

Thursday, January 10, 2008

It can't be natural

And here we can spot the mammal most in tune with this dry, dusty habitat - the Gardinus Downerius. This mammal waits until dusk on the hottest of days to display his green plastic plumage. This plumage sprays water directly onto tomatus plantus, thus ensuring both species' survival.

And here we can spot ...

This heat is just not letting up. Today Bells and I had a delightful lunch in a cafe which is normally well known for it's frigid temperatures. Unfortunately today we weren't in luck - the noodles were on, but the air con wasn't. By the time I got back to my building, my face was as bright as cherry sock yarn.

It was so hot in the study when I got home that I almost passed out, but not before apparently ordering a few balls of Tofutsies. Oops.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

I went back to work this week, and I have been a leeetle bored. This got me thinking about my boring life. So I started filling up my diary with events - I have an olive pickling course in March, a cheese making course in April, music events in Sydney and Cobargo in February and a dream to see Carmen at the Opera House with Patricia sometime soon. All that and a bit more should be enough to keep me out of trouble for the next couple of months.

You'd hope.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Sounds of silence

As mentioned in the last post, we headed to Sydney for a long weekend to avoid the Summernats. It was much quieter there.

Elizabeth Bay from Potts Point

All in all, it was a very relaxing way to end my four week holiday. There was much sleeping, and shopping, and then a dinner and breakfast and countless gelatos (before and after dinner, of course) with Sydney friend Patricia.

I visited Tapestry Craft for the first time ever, mainly so I could see for myself their reportedly high prices for stuff which for us in Canberra is comparatively Dirt Cheap. I dared not touch the $10.40 ball on Patonyle, in case I be asked to buy it. I fell in love with the Eki Riva baby alpaca but left it there. A couple of skeins of Naturally Merino/Angora did follow me home though, but only because I've not seen it anywhere else. Perhaps because I wasn't looking for it. It is very lovely though.

A couple of craft/crochet books in Kinokuniya, three blouses in the Myer sale, two tees for Mr QM a leather pocket diary and a pair of Krosno glasses later, and I was broke and in desperate need of a foot massage. I had indeed shopped until I dropped.

Our weekend away ended a wonderful lunch with Mr QM's brother and sister-in-law in Berowra, and then we were on our way back to the polluted environment of Upper Downer, all courtesy of burning rubber and too much testosterone. Plus it's super hot.

Work tomorrow. I wonder if there's time for a swim first.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Slowing down

It sometimes feels that my life is led at a manic pace, even though I like to think I lead a simple life and take things pretty easy (i.e. I'm intrinsically a Very Lazy Person). I love making lists, even though lists send my brain and body into a physical breakdown due to the fact that I have documented "what I must do" and my brain and body feel they must rebel.


I don't believe in New Years resolutions, and never have, mainly because as things slow down before Christmas I am already in the self-evaluation mode and have analysed, re-analysed and over-analysed my life and the things I could do to change.

Therefore, here is the list of things that would be nice to do in the next 11 months until the next appointment for self-analysis:

* Breathe

* Finish the Mystery Block of the Month quilts for 2006 and 2007

* Get the
2010 Canberra Quilt Show entry to top status without the border

* Visit BrisVegas more often to see Hugo, because before I'll know it he'll be a teenager and will think Aunty Chelle is too daggy to hang around with.

* Finally visit Japan.

* Participate every day in the
365 Days Blythe project on Flickr

* Enjoy the friendships I have

* Finish unpacking from our move in August ... 2006

* Breathe

* Paint the kitchen RED

* Ride to work 3 times a week and swim at least twice a week

* Expand the vegetable garden

* Crochet a cabled sweater by winter

* Learn how to use my new Mundial knives safely (
photo - warning! Not for the fainthearted!)

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
The thumb injury happened yesterday afternoon and was the reason for my absence at SnB. It will also be the reason for not finishing off this on the weekend:

Radiant shawl - work in progress

I can be so stupid sometimes.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Walking on the sidewalk, hotter than a match head

Being a girl from the tropics who never coped very well in the tropical heat, it took me about 35 years to understand that body comfort is a state of mind. If you ignore the heat, you won't feel as hot. Thermometers in the house are just silly and really, asking for trouble.

Please note that I have obviously not grasped this theory to it's full extent. Because since I've been back from Queensland, I've been hot. Bloody hot. Roasting like a turkey hot. Hotter than a boiled fruit cake.

Today is a bit more pleasant though - only 33 degrees apparently. So I have been trying to make some progress on my shawl. At the moment I'm making reverse progress - a lot of frogging has been done and I'm not talking about those noisy buggers in my pond.

The veggie patch is bolting away and tonight will be another dinner of sugar-snap-something. I've never had a vegetable patch before as we only had a townhouse with smallish courtyard gardens and lots of shade, although I've always been an obsessive gardener.

Eggplant flower

Remember how my eggplants had their leaves stripped by some little hungry mite? Well, garlic spray seems to have had the desired effect. Then there's:

Capsicum Roma tomatoes Butternut pumpkin Godzilla of the snowpea world
(Click to get bigger picture)

Clockwise from Top Left: Capsicum, more roma tomatoes than I'll know what to do with, Godzilla Snowpea (what happens when you don't pick them for weeks). and butternut pumpkin.

I'm off work until the 7th, but I'll be filling my days with swimming laps with the girls, post-swimming coffees, a little op-shopping and a lot of sitting-on-my-arse-not-doing-much-at-all. There will also be a long weekend trip to Sydney to avoid the hell that is Summernats.

I'll be seeing you on the other side, hopefully with a completed shawl. Happy new year to all my blogging pals!