29 July 2009

big warm (woolly) hug

textured shawl from behind

Have I told you I'm slightly obsessed with shawls this winter? Following the success of the wool peddler's shawl, the very next night I cast on for the 'textured shawl' by orlane in a beautiful greeny-blue. One of the women at stitch n bitch informed me it is not teal, which is what I had been thinking of it as, but the colourway is called 'Mariner' which suits it perfectly arr arr me hearties.

textured shawl as scarf

I almost totally love it. If I knit it again, (and I had to stop myself from casting on another one last night as this one was blocking), I'll do the set up row differently to try and eliminate the hump at the top of the shawl. But it's easily folded under (extra warmth) and really not a problem.

wear it like a big cowl. sort of.

I have to say a big thank you to Sue (and all others who offered) for coming to my rescue and sending me some of her precious Mariner when I foolishly enlarged the shawl by two repeats in the blind hope that I'd have enough yarn. By the way, I'm coming to the very same gloomy realisation with the swap shawl but am in denial, and just knitting faster and faster so I can finish it before the yarn runs out. That works, right?

textured shawl close

I think this might be a gift for my best friend who very shockingly and unexpectedly was orphaned last month. I know a 45 year old orphan isn't quite so tragic as a 9 year old orphan, but as some of you know, it's awful to be parentless in this world no matter your age. When it happened I just wanted to hug and hold her, and my first instinct was to knit her a shawl as kind of a big warm woolly hug in which she could wrap herself. I'm not 100% decided though - many (most?) people aren't used to shawls. I know I used to look at all the shawl patterns on Ravelry and think to myself why would you? I don't get it? but now I'm hooked and want to share the shawl love. Hmmm, what do you think? Would you look at me oddly if I knitted you a shawl as a condolence gift?

textured shawl with bonus purple fence for Stomper's viewing pleasure

I threw this photo in for Stomper's viewing pleasure. (Purple fence).

Vital statistics have been ravelled.
More photos over at flickr.

24 July 2009

22 July 2009



The eldest has gone to camp again. This time only for a few days, but it's the middle of winter and they are sleeping under the stars; no tents, no toilets, just groundsheets and sleeping bags and a trowel (tmi?), and a cave for one of the nights. He's been off school sick this week, but was desperate to go on the camp despite our doubts as to whether he is up for it. His pack weighed a ton and I shudder to think how he's going to carry it for three days. Plus he didn't take enough food in my opinion but I'm only the mother so what do I know.

I know he's growing up and away, seeing the world with his own eyes.

stray eyebrow

Meanwhile, I will keep the fire burning, do another load of washing and make a big lamb casserole in the slow cooker for the man of the house who is another year older today.

Guess what I bought him for his birthday?

Edited to add: my necklace is from the very talented Lauren Williams.

19 July 2009

sock yarn for sale

lime kool aid sock yarn

Lovingly dyed by me, this skein of fingering (4ply weight) Superwash sock yarn is in my shop now.

It would make a lovely shawl, baby item, or ... shock horror, a pair of socks.

Anyone want it? My paypal account needs topping up so I can buy a part for my spinning wheel :)

SOLD! Thank you.

18 July 2009

bullets for my saturday night

experiments with aperture

• playing with aperture settings on the camera; it's slowly coming back

• the thirteen year old boy is at a party tonight and I'm on pick up duty; can I stay awake until 10.45pm until it's time to collect him?

• the fire, which has struggled all afternoon, is now burning so strongly I have my sleeves pushed up and I'm sweating perspiring glowing divinely

• do you know that saying? Horses sweat, men perspire, and ladies glow divinely. You have to say it in my aunt's voice for maximum effect.

• I'm halfway through a Shetland Triangle shawl, in pinks and plums. I am utterly uncertain of it, but am too far in to rip it. There is always overdyeing to get rid of the heavy variegation. And severe blocking to make it grow out of adolescence and into full blown shawlhood. It's for a friend so it has to be perfect!

• the mister chopped down a couple of dead[ish] trees today to make the garden prettier top up the woodpile. Gosh it looks better. Tomorrow he will chop them into manageable pieces and the boys will stack them. (I'll point a lot and be bossy).

• men who can handle chainsaws impress (if terrify) me. I could NOT do it. This may be due to a traumatic chainsaw incident in my childhood involving an arborist and a cherry plum tree in our back garden, and my mum wrapping his arm in one of the sheets grabbed from the line and racing him off to Sandringham Hospital in her little Renault 10. Do you know, she never got that sheet back, and as she likes to say with a sigh, 'It was a good one too'.

• time to go fetch the party boy. Later, my lovelies.

15 July 2009

hot in the city

Except it wasn't because it's winter. But you know. I've got bad 1980s songs in my head.


During the school holidays the fifteen year old wanted to go to a rock concert ... a couple of venues in the city do alcohol-free, afternoon concerts for 14-18 year olds before the evening [adult] gig (and hurray for bands and venues that do that!). He's been to a couple before but this one wasn't due to finish until 6pm and the two friends he was going with were going home together on a different train line. We weren't keen on our boy alone on a train on a Saturday evening (it's quite dark at 6pm these days) - are we being over protective? He catches trains and buses on his own all the time, to school, into the city to meet friends etc, but not at night. Especially Friday and Saturday nights. He's petite and quiet and shy and I just think he's an easy target. Anyway, he didn't object when I suggested we all go into the city together, and while he was at the concert we'd go to the gallery or museum, and then all meet up in the evening and catch the train home.

knitting exhibition at Craft Victoria

Except the others, (surprisingly!), weren't too impressed at the prospect of going to the NGV to see the exhibition on clothing from Jane Austen's era. Huh! So the husband took them to the MCG to watch a footy match (pah), and I wandered along Flinders Lane until I reached Craft Victoria. Among other things they had a knitting exhibition which included little signs encouraging you to touch the exhibits. Nice.

On I went, past the cathedral ...

St Paul's Cathedral

... past the spire ...

looking up

... and onto the gallery where I thoroughly enjoyed the clothing exhibition, plus a photography exhibition on NASA space photographs, and then back to the other gallery under the spire where there was an exhibition on the Ballets Russes' influence on Australian ballet. By then the others had joined me and we browsed around the costumes and sketches and watched a video of the whole of Graeme Murphy's Scheherazade, then met up with the rock fan at the train station.

the view from Platform 1

The train journey home was uneventful but I was pleased to see a dark haired woman get on at Greensborough and proceed to knit a sock for the rest of the trip. I said to the teenagers See! I'm not the only one! They rolled their eyes in unison.

A couple of days later I dragged all the children back to the gallery for some school holiday culture and we went to the Salvador Dali exhibition. The boys were initially reluctant but conceded later it was actually good stuff. Son #3's favourite was the jewellery, #2 liked the lobster telephone, and #1 and I liked the film Destino that Dali and Walt Disney made together. If you go, make sure you don't miss that bit.


Actually I think my absolute favourite part of the NGV is the shop. God I'm such a philistine. But I bought my dad a fab Salvador Dali jigsaw puzzle for his birthday.

14 July 2009

merry merry king of the bush

kookaburra by the swing

Thank you for all your offers of help with my yarn request! I now have some teal blue winging its way to me, and some purple will be heading in the opposite direction very soon.

How I love the internet.

12 July 2009

Do you have this yarn?

textured shawl wip and a request!

I'm turning to the internets for help, as per usual.

This, my second shawl, is so very nearly complete, but for another half dozen rows and I've run out of wool. The yarn is the Bendigo Woollen Mills 8ply 'Rustic' in the colourway called Mariner. I only need a little bit and so it seems crazy to order another huge 200 gram skein for the sake of a few metres.

Does anyone out there have part of a skein left over or lying around? I'll happily pay, swap, or trade for it. I've put the word out on Ravelry too, but with no bites so far.

In other news, I've already cast on for my third shawl (for a friend this time), we lost internet access for six horrific days, and I'm sick.

I think that's all. Back as soon as I pack these children back off to school after two weeks of shenanigans holidays.

5 July 2009

back on the horse

I think that might be the longest I've gone without blogging in four years (yes I missed my blog birthday again. 650 posts, four years, go me!)

Anyway I've been very busy wasting time over at Twitter, and playing Wordtwist on Facebook, and other important end-of-semester, end-of-term activities you know. And knitting, and indulging in a full on Festival of Jane Austen. I'm on a mission to watch all the different tv and film versions of the books, am about to read Persuasion, and yesterday I went to the exhibition at the NGV of clothing from the Regency era, featuring a plethora of empire waistlines and possibly, but possibly not, the shirt that Colin Firth wore in the wet shirt scene but the costume mistress can't quite be sure.

Also we went away to the beach for a midwinter weekend "minibreak" (as Bridget Jones would call it) with five other adults and nine children aged 15 to 5.

And I'm trying to come to grips with my new camera. I love it but I want to be brilliant at it instantly. Of course. Still hadn't worked out how to manually set the aperture and then I realised that the lens on the camera is a Sigma not a Pentax and doesn't have an aperture ring like my old style SLR. Okaaay. The manual is, of course, no help at all in a real life practical way. But I love the colours and the clarity and sharpness (except when photographing a speeding greyhound - he always comes out slightly blurry). Also iPhoto doesn't deal with these shots as well as I'd like so now I'm trying to learn The Gimp and that is NOT going well.

It's a huge learning curve and it feels very different from my old film SLR days. Anyway, enough with the whingeing and the first world problems! Stand by to be inundated with photographs you lucky lucky beasts!

First up, a winter weekend at Anglesea. Three families, beautiful sunny skies, a couple of fabulous op shop expeditions (including one that was just me and six children who told their parents they wanted "Suse to take us please!" Oh how wonderful to be considered cool by other peoples' children and to have girl children asking me my opinion on dresses and trashy op shop jewellery. Good times).

seven of the nine children
Seven of the nine children

Son #1 looking all teenage and pensive. Note almost straight horizon this time

Loving that Pentax colour

silvery sea
silvery sea at Pt Roadknight. That romantic looking cloud formation is from the Alcoa smelter I do believe

golden light
Sunset shots on the way home

the drive home was dramatic
The sky was dramatic

Next up, Suse goes to the City. Child free and with her new camera. I know you can't wait.