Tuesday, October 31, 2006


I like order, I love knowing that the backs of cupboards are spotless, underneath the beds are clutter free, the freedom of knowing that the house is clean, clean, clean, and my husband is the same, when he cleans the bathroom he stacks chairs in front of the door to stop the girls using it.
I have had times in my life when my desire for a neat house has cost me in terms of human relationships - I remember when we lived on Waiheke Island, Holly was almost 3, Charlotte a baby - lying in her pram in the middle of the lounge(room) happily cooing and babbling at her mobiles, and me frantically vacuming around her, thinking " I really should stop this and play with the babies" it was PND, but a kinder, gentler form, and when I told my GP that I felt I was cleaning a bit much he told me I was silly, I had little children, it was good that the house was clean...
I remember having my dearest friend to stay with her 3 girls, the same ages as mine - what should have been the coolest week, was spent tensely as I couldn't just let the kids go for it, I had to keep tidying up - and I had the same thought " I really should stop this"...and that friendship ended...and I realised that cleanliness is not next to Godliness, with 3 kids it is next to impossible. So when I moved in with Flash, and we had 5 kids, I relaxed - not too much, the communal living areas had to remain tidy - but I learnt to close their bedroom doors so I wouldn't have to see.

We were advised late last week that we would be having an inspection of our apartment soon, so I went into overdrive on friday, and again on saturday morning, and when all of the cleaning was done, Flash and I went and bought a filing cabinet, and emptied 5 different filing boxes into it, and made 60 different categories ???!!!

Donni popped in on her way back to Wollongong on saturday afternoon, and I was so pleased to see her, but tired and a bit withdrawn, and after she left I realised that I had done it again... the combined stresses we have on us at the moment (inspection, Flash is away a lot at the moment, being away from the family in NZ etc) made me retreat into cleaning and tidying to reinstate external order -when the inside is in disarray...I didn't go to SSK, Wollongong snb, Pub knitting, I didn't go out with Flash for our traditional saturday breakfast. I cleaned, filed,and worked...and felt bad.

They say the unexamined life is not worth living, I am trying to learn from previous experience, and finding strategies to become a better person, I am paying attention to the warning flags, and am blessed that I am surrounded with a wealth of friends and family, and an understanding husband who finds me endearing.

To this end today I am working, I have not left the house - but I have gone to "the office" and will be back at 6pm (ok I'm on a lunch break now!) the dishes and vacum cleaner I walk past do not affect me - they belong to "home" they'll be there waiting for me at the end of the work day, oh,and I am definitely getting a cleaner!

Saturday, October 28, 2006

seriously though folks

this is supposed to be a knitting blog right? well that's why you all come to read it - those of you who aren't my friends and family back home anyway. I am perturbed...this is a knitting blog, and I have no knitting to talk about, I have knitting...but it's the same old kidsilk haze shawl with the artyarns regal silk and Louisa Harding kimono stripes, it will become more interesting when I add the lace border, much more interesting, interesting in the way that watching a guy walk the high wire without a net is interesting, but until then it's bloody boring, as are the socks - Opal Elements - nice, but blogging boring.

I spend almost all day every day knitting, and I have no knitting story for you! I can tell you that I have just finished a little organic merino cardigan which is beautiful in it's simplicity and will be posted on the website soon.

I have had requests for samples from a couple of the big shopping blogs for "Mommies", so you know what I am going to be doing with most of my weekend, free advertising is the best kind (and kind of necessary right now!) also through my advertising quest I have met Louise from GiGi designs she designs the cutest kids clothes, so go have a look! it is so wonderful to be meeting all of these exciting, supportive, interesting people, and people who just want to see you succeed, people who understand that if good people make it, they will pull others up with them - rather than step on them to get to the top.

I have other, bigger things to tell you all, but the ground keeps shifting on me, and announcements are best made in fact (no I'm not expecting - thats tummy fat) so I'll keep quiet for a bit longer.

Monday, October 23, 2006

why is that man...? and free beanie pattern

Yesterday Flash and I made our way to (that waking nightmare of consumerism) Fox Studios to see Al Gore's "An inconvenient truth" - I had formally known Al as the man who says he "invented" the internet.

Say no more.

I no longer feel that way, I was going to write a long critique of the movie, but as you will shortly see, I do not have the strength of will to stay awake that long, suffice is to say: I enjoyed the movie, it reminded me to be a bit more careful, it validated my decision not to own a car given my present circumstances, it showed me that NZ is the best place for my family to live (majority hydro-electric power, Kyoto ratification, awareness) despite Madame Sydney's being so gosh darned attractive. It made me think that wether or not man is creating this current situation, if things continue the way they are going...maybe in 20 years Australia will be looking aggresively at NZ, due to Oz's worsening drought and salination issues, that NZ could become Australia's farm...by force. I know that is a bit radical, but who knows what will happen in the extreme?
Do not bother to argue with me as to the reason for Global warming, I am walking a nice middle ground, I know it is happening, and I am reducing my family's ecological footprint, I am also crabby and have not had much sleep.

Flash works for a multi-national, I was impressed by the fact that they have instructed (and will pay for) all of their staff to see this film, maybe Al is right and people are causing all of these effects, maybe he is less than correct and this is a normal cycle, it doesn't matter, we should all be trying to reduce pollution.

The reason my brain isn't working sufficiently for me to go any further with Al?

at 10 pm, these guys arrived and started scraping all of the ashphalt off the road outside our windows, then they pushed it up to this truck which sat and beeped loudly, and crashed, and smoked...there was much yelling, beeping, scraping and jack hammering, at one stage a man took to the road in a frenzy with a pick axe, Blaise asked what the road had done to him? had it insulted his Mother? (yes this is all so close that we could ask questions) it was entertaining for the first hour or so...but at 2 am it was not so good, my eyes were sweating beneath my sleep mask, and I could no longer stand the earplugs, which did nothing to stop the pounding noises from outside, except to add the ka-dunk, ka-dunk of my beating heart, at 5am they relented, thus ensuring us 1 hour of relative quiet.

We have a new free baby pattern - for handknitters, a super cute, super quick and easy mock cable rib beanie.

Knit in Cleckheaton Country silk, it will work with any wool based yarn which gets 22 sts x 30 rows to a 10cm (4inch) swatch on 4mm (us6, uk 8) needles.

Pattern is here

Thursday, October 19, 2006

organised chaos

you can tell when Flash is away...the house is not untidy, but there are piles everywhere, laundry...kitchen table...coffee table, the kitchen is kept spotless because of the risk of cockroaches in this town...but thats about it, his side of the bed contains pads of paper, pens, books, stitch guides, magazines and yarn, the table is now "marketing central" more books, pens, paper, coffee cups...the couch is my relaxation area, more yarn, needles, coffee cups, and dvds.
I need an office - bad.
I also need help guys.
(not the pharmaceutical kind)

I noticed today that someone from The Gap ( yes THE gap) had spent an hour perusing my site, now I can understand that they may wish to ensure that I have not copied any of their designs, and am flattered that they are concerned about such a small player...BUT... on the other hand, knowing that all of my designs are original...I am slightly worried that some "designer" (the job description a few years ago was - someone who goes overseas four times a year and buys garments to take apart and copy) has decided that because I am such a small player, they can "borrow" my designs without any fuss.

I have a "terms of use" statement on the site, and have printed out their details from my stats collector (IP address and activity path etc.) but am not sure what else I can do to protect myself. I did have "no right-click" installed on the pages, but that stopped some people frim being able to navigate the page, and as I was told by a web designer - these are easy to disable, and if someone wants they pictures they can just print screen, and it doesn't work in Safari (most designers have Macs).

My second concern is that I have basically no advertising budget, a small (black and white) ad in a USA magazine is $46K (yes you read right). I am working at my marketing plan at present (the resident Sales and Marketing Guru is rightly baffled - being used to obscene marketing budgets - but is trying to get on board quickly) any ideas folks? I have joined a press release service (free intro offer - yay!) and have signed up for Google adwords, I am not sure where to go from here, gone are the days when you could send a "freebie" to a magazine and have them include it in their fashion pages, now it is a freebie and lots of cash!
I'm open to any suggestions.
(the knitting in the picture? - simple triangle shawl in kidsilk haze, with stripes of Louisa Hardings Kimono, and Artyarns Regal silk, will have a lace border)

Monday, October 16, 2006

new and improved!

the new Just Jussi website is UP!
I am really happy with this total change of look, as I have said so many times, I am a knitwear designer, not a website designer!

The talent behind the camera is Lara - and I am forever in her debt, we have formed a symbiotic relationship which I know will have positive outcomes for both of us. I am grateful to the families for being so gracious, friendly and warm towards me, and this fledgling of a business.

If you find any problems, once again, let me know...and if anyone knows how to fix that gap at the top of the "Home" page, I would appreciate some advice!

I had a wonderful weekend, SSK on saturday, and Knitting at the Courthouse pub in Newtown today, knitters are such nice people.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

if you can't say anything nice...

you aren't trying hard enough.

Has everyone seen this Yarn standards ? I love this site, I have bits of it printed out and sellotaped to the wall for ease of use. It contains all of the information you need to ensure a successful project - head sizes, other sizes, standard (american) abbreviations, symbols etc. Good stuff!

I was browsing at Threadless and found a t-shirt that I thought Lucia might like, and then one that I thought would be perfect for the Yarn harlot, and this one is perfect for almost all of us (yes I bought it, and a couple of others)

Go and see Iris and congratulate her on the new arrival, and Alison - who needs some support to evict her recalcitrant bub.

I'm sorry if you are trying to download my free patterns, I have changed webhost and am waiting on a couple of details before I upload the new and inproved website, I'm sure that I will be able to dot the "i"s in the next couple of days.

All is quiet here, Blaise is on holiday in Bateman's Bay, Flash has big work stuff and Maria has been lying in bed reading, and playing online games, you can tell when a teenager has run out of cash! I haven't managed to convince her to knit...yet. I did send a little package with Blaise though, her friend is 17 years old, and knits scarves and gloves, so I sent along some Lorna's shepherd sock (wound into centre pull balls) and some cotton self-patterning (can't remember what) a cute homemade DPN case, dpns, pattern and the URL for knitty, I told her to knit a scarf with it if she ends up wanting to stab people with the DPNs, but to keep the dpns and case for later - she will need them one day!

Cherry has a couple of blogs and a website, all are absolutely delightful, I am so envious of her studio at Pixie Wood, it makes me anxious to get back to NZ and get started on my studio at the cottage. If you are an artist or crafter you may want to participate in her partner programme. Cherry has some lovely recipes, and her styling is exquisite.

(see Maria does exist! and no, Charlotte did not lick the snake)

Saturday, October 07, 2006

here she goes again

the cult of celebrity does not sit well with me, I don't watch much t.v., I don't read women's or celebrity magazines, I watch movies and listen to music, I read voraciously, I wouldn't know most of todays stars if I fell over them. I am grateful to those I do watch, read and listen to - for sharing their talent and making the world a richer place, stories must be told, just as they always have been. A great performance will send shivers down the spine, but I have no admiration for thise who are famous for being famous, it seems to me that if you are poor, your wrongdoings are evil, if you are famous they are entertainment.

To me there is no difference between Penn Gillette and Brenda Dayne - both entertain and enlighten me through their podcasts, they both challenge me to look both inside and out, to grow and accept life's challenges, they are both people who refuse to be compartmentalised by society, and if I had the pleasure of meeting either of them I wouldn't be screaming, fainting or sneaking photos to sell to Hello! I would thank them for giving me so much pleasure (and get a photo for the blog!)

Which in a roundabout way brings me to the reason for this post, Tracey Ullman and Mel Clark's book "Knit 2 Together" was released recently, I didn't pay much attention as I tend not to buy "pattern books" preferring "ideas" books (the recent purchase of Norah Gaughan's Knitting Nature is the exception that proves the rule - her designs are so inspirational that they transcend mere pattern) however, reading the article in the fall issue of Vogue knitting was very disappointing, it was 3 pages about Tracey - (I must say here that while I know who she is, I haven't actually seen her in anything since the "Tracey Ullman show" so while she may be extremely well known in the US, she is moderately well known in NZ) and if she had written the book alone, then it would have been a wonderful article - it is great to see celebrities championing knitting, and showing the rest of the world that their prejudices are outmoded.
Tracey talks about knitting the way that we do, she is one of us, and that is wonderful...BUT...the article only mentioned Mel as an adjunct to Tracey, I am a knitter and a designer, I want to know about the WHOLE process, both people, how they worked together to come up with the designs. I read somewhere that Mel was originally from NZ, I don't know if this is true, but if it is I want to know how she ended up owning a store in California, where the knitting has taken her both physically and personally, because as I mentioned - my celebrities are those I can relate to: Brenda with her self-awareness and openess, talking about her human frailties in the light of motherhood and relationships, Stephanie who as a hippy-ish mother of 3 daughters I can relate to, who presents herself to us foibles and all, and whose yarn adventures "knit" us together as a community, and Norah who astounds me with her ability to see knitting from such different angles, and manage to communicate these to us mere mortals without making our heads explode.

So, in closing, I hope that Tracey and Mel's book does well, that it brings new knitters into the fold, and encourages old ones back, but in future I would hope to see a knitter's slant to an article such as this, especially in a knitting magazine.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

the picnickers

Buffalo creek reserve in Hunter's Hill offers sanctury from the busy-ness of Sydney on a holiday afternoon.

Flash caught up on reading, Blaise is always writing, and I knitted...for a change?

We sat under a picnic shelter, covered the table with our individual projects and a lunch of chicken chilli and lime sausages, homemade organic tomato herb seed bread, and apples, and twisted our bodies in order to thrust our legs into the glorious sunshine.

Aussie natives: Grevillea, bottlebrush and waratah.

Excuse my absences of late, I am trying to unravel the intricacies of changing webhost, DNS nameservers and where they are pointing, uploading using frontpage versus ftp. Knitting for fun: string shopping bags from "String and air" using Handpainted yarns Himalaya cotton - it is too harsh (in my opinion) for garments (almost the texture of white string) but perfect for string bags - I'm getting a head start on Christmas!, I have also been experimenting with their laceweight merino - absolutely beautiful, sooooo soft that it feels as though it has a cashmere component, still handwash only - but perfect for those heirloom garments.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Holiday mode

Charlotte is here, Blaise and Maria sprung the fact that they were on holidays BEFORE the holidays officially started - due to the fact that they weren't required at school if they didn't have exams...whatever happened to studying in the library??? Maria's school drives me nuts, she starts, and gets home at a different time every day, and is never at school for 6 hours, I know I am painting myself as a control freak here, but I do like to have a set amount of time to get on with my work and not have to worry about someone making a snack (and a mess) or wanting laundry done etc. the school says that it is trying to get the kids used to a routine more like University - where they are responsible for their time - but I prefer the old-fashioned "from 8.30-3.30" approach. Flash has been on holiday too - so you can imagine I haven't had much peace, so I gave in and am going with the flow... which led us to the Australian Reptile park on thursday.

This park is an hours drive from home, and is set in parklike bushland, the day was warm and peaceful, we had a great time wandering around admiring the Alligator pond, playing with kangaroos, bravely getting up close and personal with spiders, the keepers gave talks every hour, and these were relaxed and interesting, they answered our questions and came up afterwards to answer many more and to let Charlotte play with the snakes

the animals are well cared for, and the park is actively involved in the creation of anti-venom for snake and spider bite, the is no anti-venom for baby alligator bite, which is why the girls pulled their dangling legs up onto the wall when Rosie decided to go for a walk around the show arena.
Knitting for fun has temporarily ceased, since I got it into my head that I wanted to design my own lace shawl, luckily commonsense prevailed and that project has been shelved until the household returns to some semblance of normalcy, whatever that is? I have finished all gift knitting, much of which is blocking, and all work related knitting for this week has been packed and posted, it's all good!