Friday, June 30, 2006

Busy hands

Holly goes home tomorrow - we will miss her, I feel bad that we haven't done all of the things we had planned, as we had to stay home while Blaise was ill, still Holly is her Mother's daughter and made the most of it, as well as watching over 60 episodes of "Scrubs" every Monty Python dvd ever made, and a daily dose of "The princess bride" to keep Blaise company, she worked away at a patchwork bag of her own design, and numerous peices of jewellery.

the bag has patchwork on both sides, striped chambray lining and a knitted garter stitch handle in thick cotton, Holly took to my collection of fabric with abandon and exuberance, combining an eclectic mixture into a visually appealing peice.

I professed my love for this peice

but I have made a resolution not to buy any more jewellery until I deserve it...

so Holly made me a substitute, just as sweet!

Wednesday, June 28, 2006


Blaise asked for a backpack similar to the Punk Rock Backpack from Stitch and Bitch she wasn't happy with either of the motifs and gave me her Aranzi Aranzo pencilcase to copy, so here it is so far, I have knitted the front and back (the pink whipstitching is holding the opening closed, as it will have a zipper inserted) the intarsia for the monkey wasn't bad at all, it goes quickly because it is interesting. He needs to have his eyes embroidered on, we had decided on little plastic eyes, but when I put them they freaked us both out - evil toy monkey eyes!

she also wants me to embroider the book title - she hasn't decided, but it will be either "The ascent of Man" or "Planet of the Apes".

I received a knitting machine, ribber and associated bits and peices yesteday, unfortunately most of it has to stay packed up as there just isn't room here, I can't wait to have my own room! I also have scored a garter carriage and wonderful new knitting machine, and loads of accessories, but they are in NZ and will have to stay with my parents until we know where we are going to be living next year.It is a bit like waiting for Christmas, I know what I'm getting but can't touch it!!!

So, back to the stuff that arrived yesterday, there was a huge box of books and pamphlets - patterns from the '70s and '80s, treasure! and the gold? well next to the punchcard dictionaries, which are amazing compilations of fairisle and lace patterns, there are a few Japanese machine knitting pattern books - AmimonoVogue from 1982, they are wonderful - the Japanese did not seem to succumb to the intarsia batwing styles so prevalent in the '80s - there are a lot of tidy twinsets with interesting detailing, I can actually see myself making a few garments - and thats where we come to the second wonder of japanese machine knitting mags - the instructions are all diagrams - so it is easy to decipher the pattern.

love the Nana and Grandad bodywarmers!

I am tempted to commit Amigarumi

Monday, June 26, 2006

alright now

Blaise had a bad week, the tonsils got worse, they looked disgusting, I can't understand how Doctors can think that something that looks that disgusting should be allowed to remain in your body. However, none of them looked terribly surprised, so I followed their lead and remained nonplussed in front of her.
We saw our family Dr on wednesday after the emergency GP on sunday, Blaise wasn't getting any better, so a change of antibiotics, a shot of penicillin in the bum, and a blood test were called for, and that was the last straw for Blaise.
With her almost grownup brain Blaise understood that a blood test was required and would be over quickly, unfortunately she has memories from 4 years ago - being admitted to hospital for major surgery 3 times , and having to have all of the bloodwork done the day prior, Doctors not being able to get blood out of her tiny body, trying up to 10 different places, 4 adults holding her down, and one time squeezing blood out of a hole in her thumb for 20 minutes.
The surgery was cancelled at the last minute twice - a lack of paediatric intensive care beds - and each time we returned she tried to bargain with them "you can use the blood from last time right?" "I don't feel sick - see" running and jumping around. Sitting with her when she came round from surgery and the joy in her face when she realised she had a central line in - ahhh, no more blood tests.
So, that was what she was up against, she wept silently as the big Nigerian nurse gently punctured her arm and swiftly changed vials, before she knew it, she was being handed a sticky plaster - "it's over?" yay all over, a new positive memory to dampen the old negative memories.

I have people to thank,

firstly to Rox who must think her parcel never arrived - beautiful dye-your-own laceweight - a whole hank and loads of KoolAid, Holly and I are going to play at mad scientist artists this week, thank you Rox!!

and also to Jade, who really has to stop fretting, you are the most wonderful, sweet person.

Jad made me the sweetest knitting bag, striped denim/chambray lined with a sweet pink print, and a matching stitchmarker pouch, I managed to take a photo of the pecan/walnut praline before they were devoured - all my favourite flavours - vanilla, caramel, pecan - I was in heaven. A Creative Knitting (not the Aussie one) mag that I have never seen before and a Lion Brand book of re-worked vintage patterns, which I adore. What I loved beyond all else though was the " Officer Jussi of the Knitting Police" badge (and Jade isn't a knitter, but she still "gets" us!!!!) it's not the grumpy "you can't do that" knitting police - here is the oath from the back of the badge

I solemnly swear to appreciate that which I make with my own hands,

and to not waste one second of time worrying what others may think of my efforts

If it is good enough for me, it is good enough.

I am my own Knitting Police!

I'll be flashing it all over the place Jade.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

really ill but not fully sick*

Blaise is ill.

I made that a sentence by itself because it is such a rare event, Blaise has not been ill since she was 4, and then she had whooping cough. I took her to the emergency GP on sunday, we waited an hour, explained the symptoms on the way to his office and were out again in 1 minute - "say "ahh" oh yep that's tonsilitis".
She has been miserable, her "word of the day"(description) for the past 3 days has been "festering" poor wee thing, utterly, heartbreakingly sad at missing school, missing her friends, feeling so sick, sleeping on the couch with her patchwork quilt and Uncle Doug the bear, because she doesn't want to be alone, and is watching 3 series of "Scrubs" ( I think thats more than 60 episodes - I feel I am being assimilated into their world)when she can't sleep.
I am slightly stressed, I can't fix my child's pain and that is distressing, I have parcels to go out, and haven't got to the Post office, I have a husband who feels that sick people belong in their beds and are happier left alone (he is trying hard to understand) and I had planned outings with Holly that I can't fulfill - I feel torn in 20 directions.
So I am submitting, I will do my work, clean the house, and catch up with Holly, but my first priority is to sit on the couch with my baby and cuddle her, because I know it works.

* "fully sick" a colloquialism meaning "really good" often associated with aussie elite swimmer Ian Thorpe

Monday, June 19, 2006

poppies in motion

I spent Saturday morning on tenterhooks, would Holly's flight be snowed in and cancelled, would she get to the airport on time, would she remember her documentation? This is the first time she has had to get herself to the airport etc. I needn't have worried, she was perfect.

We had a dinner party on saturday night, to welcome Holly - the food and decorations were Indian, and these poppies were a highlight as well as a talking point as they slowly shed their pods and blossomed over the course of the evening.

here is another Poppy who has blossomed into a delightful young woman

(Poppy is Holly's nickname - funny really when both names are the same length)

look Nana - she's cleaning!

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Hollydays in June

Holly (eldest child) called me early on monday morning (very very early - Sydney is 2 hours behind Christchurch) she has exams this week, and the one on monday was cancelled due an excess of snow, the powers that be had intimated that they may hold the exam on saturday - the day that loads of students flee the freezing city by air, train or car (anyway they can really) we were worried, the flights are fully booked, no changes possible, we didn't want wee Holls freezing her poor miserable butt off in Christchurch - thankfully commonsense overwhelmed the administrators and the exam has been rebooked for friday.

Holly has seen and touched snow, but has never lived with it, so we received the inevitable photo - the Hudson Hall mascot - built by kids who should be studying -come on people!

thats some funky snowman.

And lest you think I have not been busy enough lately - here is a taste

better get back to it, I have a very demanding boss.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Fairly good

today was the first day I have been able to do as I please, after the adventures of the past couple of weeks, it was sunny and reasonably warm out, so I decided to go visit the Sydney Craft and Quilt fair down at Darling Harbour...I had been planning to take Holly, but she arrives on Saturday afternoon, and as Sunday is the last day and a weekend day, it would be packed beyond reason.

I arrived around 11 am, and things were in full swing, if you were a quilter, then this was heaven, there were fat quarters for Africa! I started at the far end, and meandered along the rows and tried to remember bits and pieces that I needed, thin velvet ribbon, $1 a roll - 3 in crimson, 1 black, 1 eggplant, beading needles... I found the Bendigo yarns stall and bought a hank of cream cotton for more petal bibs, and some baby wool at 30% off, if you could get near the yarn stands there were some reasonable bargains to be had, and it was great to see some yarns close up.
I splashed out on some Belisa Cashmere in plum and school jersey grey, I have been wanting to try it for ages, not 100% certain what I am going to knit with it, but an idea is blossoming.
The ladies from the machine knitters guild were very sweet, and the quilts on display were stunning, I restrained myself and only bought 2 beads - little fortune cats to make into stitch markers. I stayed away from most of the quilting stalls, trying to avoid being in too much of a crush, however there were 2 that I just had to purchase from "wabi-sabi" and another whose name I have mislaid, both had japanese fabrics, so I had to buy a few charm squares as well.

as you can see, I was very restrained. The queue for coffee was long, so I made my way back out into the sunshine and headed for home.

Verdict: If you are a quilter - GO!

if you are a knitter - go if you are interested in other crafts as well, though for some the Colinette may be all the encouragement you require!

Monday, June 12, 2006

Knitting in public

We made it! There were times during the day when I thought I really should stay at home and look after Flash, but he was up and about and raring to get out of the house. He went shopping while I knitted.

we met at the Sidewalk cafe at the Sydney Opera house, I think about 20 people turned up, it was interesting watching the reactions of passers-by, many were intrigued, some stopped, talked, even knitted for a while, others looked on with distaste, people are funny.

shot with the Harbour bridge in the background and Clair (e) in the foreground, I didn't know everyone there, and wanted to visit people's knitting, but was still feeling a bit fragile after Flash's stuff, it's amazing the way things can knock you around isn't it? Anyway he is fitter than fit, you see his body (and multidirectional Noro scarf) standing behind Veronica in this photo on Kris's site, you can also see more photos at the SSK site.

Interesting: the Opera House car park machines have instructions in English, German , French and Swedish - I took it that this is because the architect Jorn Utzon was Swedish and so many Swedes would want to check the place out - but he wasn't, he was Danish, so I am left wondering.

And to Lara - I bought the plastic cover before I bought anything else, thanks for the tip!

Saturday, June 10, 2006

A is for

Angioplasty, which is the name of the socks I am currently knitting. A month ago I knitted the anniversary socks for Flash for our third wedding anniversary, and have decided to knit him a pair of socks for every big event in our lives (no there will not be any "baby" socks!). Flash had an angioplasty and stent on thursday, (he had one 7 years ago - very bad genes) so he knew what to expect, I just stayed with him and knitted and worried quietly.
All went so well that the surgeon said that he could go to the Split Enz concert the day of his discharge, and we did (which would have great except that we had some idiot girls from Gore sitting behind us who decided it would be fun to give a loud running commentary of the whole concert - yes I did turn around and ask them nicely to be quiet, no it didn't work - (would that be "B is for Bogans.)
So we need a "C" - Cyril Cullen my parents visited Farney Castle a few days ago, and met Cyril's wife and had a good old chat for hours, she has sent me a book about him, which I can't wait to read - apparently he is a porcelain artist as well as a knitwear designer, and I am fascinated to learn more about how they seperate the colours when spinning the wool from the Jacobs sheep, my Mum has met lots of people and had some adventures over the years in her hunt for yarn for me, she loves the tactile nature of yarns and fabrics more than the act of crafting so we are a good team.

I am off to knit in public at the Opera House this afternoon, the weather is looking a little dodgy, but I know we will have fun, at least we are not knitting next door in the Botanical Gardens - where guys like this try to take your yarn, needles, bag - anything that isn't tied down!

(gratuitous cockatoo shot)

Monday, June 05, 2006

a gap in the weather

Flash and I ducked out yesterday afternoon and visited the infamous Gap Bluff at the inlet to Sydney Harbour, "The Gap" is legendary as a preferred location for dramatic suicides, however being decidedly unsuicidal despite the inclement weather, we chose to wander around, take photos, watch tourists (climbing rocks in high heels -what is with that, did the woman think the guy would find her less attractive if she wore sneakers??) The sea below the cliffs was thunderous, dark blue grey smashing into the rocks and changing momentarily to a glowing aquamarine before spraying white and rolling back to icy flint, discussion quietly centred around the levels of desperation required to fling yourself into that churning cauldron - a conversation which continued over coffee and cake in the cosy tearooms at the base of the park
I gave "The Gap" an 8 out of 10, it scored well on breathtaking vistas, pounding seas, moody fogbanks and continental apple cake (spicy!) but was slightly let down by ignorant tourists being shepherded by rude tourguides and the destruction of Aboriginal rock art by the military (yes I know it was a long time ago).
It also scored well on drama - I love visiting windswept places and wrapping myself in my black trenchcoat, black scarf around my head, and sunglasses to protect my eyes from windborne debris, "so elegant she must be famous" I heard someone whisper , "yes - Brangelina are so yesterday, thats the new celebrity couple *Gorjus" replied her friend.
(any similarity to the truth is purely co-incidental, your author is day-dreaming)
*Gordon and Justine - cute huh!

Now to redeem myself, here is the "Petal bib" from the book "One Skein". I knitted it in 2 hours last night, a very quick and satisfying knit, beautifully constucted and a nice introduction to short rows for people who may find them scarey. I used approximately 30 grams of Anchor magic line cotton, I think it looks nicer plain, but made do with what I had lying around. I'll make a couple more and send them off to my sister for Maisie, I don't know how well they will cope with babymush, but are very absorbent, so will be a good dribble-bib...and pretty good for peek-a-boo too.

remember this saturday is worldwide KIP (knitting in public) day, at the Sidewalk Cafe at the Opera House (from Circular Quay, just keep walking towards the Opera House keeping the water on your left, until you find the knitters) the more the merrier, and it will be wonderful to meet the faces behind the words.

Friday, June 02, 2006


Friday evening draws near, cold and rainy - just the way I like it, there is a beef casserole, thick with carrot, tomato and onion -bubbling away in the cast iron pot in the oven, garlic and rosemary bread dough pounding away in the breadmaker, a Marlborough pinot noir waiting for my sweetheart's homecoming.

Gifts in the mail, my parent are now in Ireland - supposed to be holidaying, but I know my Dad will work, I have already received an email intimating such, knowing my Mama she will have booked a week or two at some far-flung place with no internet connection or mobile coverage.
The kidsilk haze arrived today - 2 balls in each of the majestic and dewberry colourways mmmm yummy! as well as the Rowan "Little Treasures"
book (who knows, maybe my wee neice will get something handknitted this winter!) and "Pub knitting" by Rachel Henderson (which Holly will probably borrow)

I don't know what I am going to make with the haze (suggestions anyone?) that is if I ever get anywhere near it, the last domestic knitting I did was the anniversary socks, and they were a wee while ago (please let's forget the Noro Aurora fiasco) That is not to say that I have not been knitting, I have been doing little else - witness...

yes those are roses, and yes I embroidered them.