Friday, 31 December 2010

that was the year that was

So it's 1746 on December 31, 2010.  Just over six hours till 2011. I sit here wondering just quite what to wrote.

I've seen some great collages of finished works.  I've done more than I thought, much of it lace, but haven't made a collection to show today.  I'm pleased with the lace I've done, quite a few shawls and  some patterns like Brandywine and Brangian have been done several times.  I've given away quite a bit including one Brangian to a friend in Christchurch who was badly rattled by the earthquake.  Quite severe aftershocks are still being felt there. She described it as a wonderful hug.  Other things have gone to another friend in Mallacoota.  It's been very cold there and she came from Queensland so felt it acutely.  grandchildren and family have received gifts.  I gave a Travelling Woman small shawl in cashmere and merino to a doctor friend from Aberdeen, Scotland who was visiting here for several weeks.  She emailed me saying how lovely and warm it was.  She returned home to the big freeze in Scotland  and was snowed in for quite a while.  A shock to the system from being here.  I've found giving stuff away even more than I normally do has been a real help to me.

I'm now enjoying knitting lace and feel lost without something on the go in lace.  That's a big change from a couple of years ago when lace and laceweight yarn scared me.

Knitting however has been an adjunct to the year's activities.  Like some others I known in the online knitting world, this year has been somewhat less than stellar for me.  I pulled myself together enough to initiate proper divorce proceedings.  That took quite a while and a lot of personal angst.  I knew it had to be done but signing the papers was difficult.

The day the divorce order was made was the day I learned that my sister's breast cancer was back.  First diagnosed in 1997, January, it has returned four times.  She's also had  a total reconstruction and a reduction in the other breast to match.   So there was more surgery then.  However a spot was found on her lung, possibly a secondary cancer.  She came home from hospital on Christmas Eve after a very harrowing operation to remove that spot.  She thought she was prepared but the pain was far worse than she could imagine.  She has an 8" scar under her shoulderblade on the back and several broken ribs as well.  She's still on morphine.

The house I'd lived in for over thirty years was sold  at the end of October.  I went to one of the inspections and was utterly horrified at the place.  Stuff everywhere and the bathroom was sickeningly dirty.  The agent said the house had been worse when he saw it the first time.  My ex-husband seems to have remarried very shortly after the divorce was finalised.  Not even his sons were told.  I'm past it.  It actually really doesn't bother me.  Good luck to her.

Mum's lovely home at Dural was put on the market not long before Christmas.  It's not sold yet, but it was an emotional blow to me.

So the New Year starts soon, very soon.  I'm looking forward to it.  I'm looking for a place to  buy but can stay here till I find the right place.  It's time to move on.  Fresh start, fresh things to buy just for me.  I have adequate linen and bedding and some kitchen things and a good dinner service.  Lounge suite, refrigerator, washer, dining table, mundane stuff like brooms and mops.  All will be new.  It's exciting to think about and will be better when I do it.

I've learnt a lot about myself from all this although I won't subject you to having to read my discoveries and am confident I will cope just fine.  I have experienced tremendous support.  Many knitters and other cyber friends have become friends in real life and those who can't be that because of distance have been amazingly supportive.  Emails, gifts, encouragement by the bucket load have come my way. Thank you.  I have greatly appreciated every gesture, no matter what it was.

My family have been invaluable.  I could not detail how much support my sons, the girls and my grandchildren have been.  Each has made a different contribution - housing, advice,support, hugs and gifts from the littlies, my eldest grandson, eleven, soothed and comforted me after unexpectedly meeting my husband at the house during an inspection.  DILs who refused to let me go to meetings and court by myself and more.  Husband should not have been there but away for that time.  Grandson was very comforting, a role an eleven year old really should not have had to play. I have a friend whom I've known since the mid-1980s and he's stepped in too.  A strong shoulder to cry on, words of kindness and wisdom, he's a chaplain.  We've been to movies and lunches  and it seems he rings just when I need someone my age to speak to.

So I'm looking forward to the year ahead.  One son at Christmas gave me good wineglasses and champagne flutes for a toast.  Another gave me some really good cast iron pots etc in bright red, very cheerful.  So I'm ready for a toast.  In just seventeen days my bank account will be credited with more money than I've ever had access to in my life.  I'll have important decisions to make but will get there.  I've proved that by this year.

So lift your glasses filled with your drink of choice and here's to the new year!

Friday, 24 December 2010

celtic hearts shawl

Finished and unpinned after blocking, one Celtic Hearts shawl.  This was the second attempt at this pattern.  The first was ripped out when I lost my way after leaving it for a while.  That was to have been done in Bendigo Melody.  This is their rustic in a colour called Damson.

I don't quite remember just how I messed up the last attempt.  It's not a difficult pattern at all and  the diagonal lines give a sure way of seeing where I am up to in any row.   This is just a shade over 300 gm of the Rustic, knit on 5.5 mm needles and I could probably have used 6 mm. I cast off using a crochet hook and did one chain in between each lot of stitches.  There was no way I was going to undo well over 300 stitches if I decided it was a bit tight.

It was hard to photograph as it is very grey today.  The city skyline taken from our third floor balcony outside son's office shows heavy cloud.  There's a cool breeze too.  I know it's Christmas Day tomorrow, but I quite like summer so far.  It's not typical, but every cooler day brings us one more day towards autumn and I did not cope well last year with our many days over 40° C.  Perhaps a little bit more sunshine would be pleasant but I don't care how long it takes to get over 30°.

My son's ankle injury as detailed in previous post below is really quite nasty.  He's seen the orthopaedic surgeon and has a definite date  for surgery of January 20.  He had hoped to get in on a cancellation yesterday but that was not to be.  He says the pain of surgery about equals the current pain and at least it would mean things were on the mend.  There are lots of small bone chips which have to be removed.  One ligament seems to be shredded along its length but it's still in one piece.  Another two ligaments have been totally pulled off their anchorage points on the bone and have quite possibly also lost some of their length.  The surgeon is considering just how to fix this.

He's having physio on his leg to loosen it up so surgeon can work on the ankle.  Most of the time he sits with his leg up in a bandage for support.  If he  has to move around, he puts on a large plastic boot which has inflatable bladders inside.  These blow up to immobilise the ankle as he moves and also put pressure on the swelling which is still big.  A new pair of elbow crutches is considerably more stable than the hospital crutches he first had.  These were adjusted almost to their limit as he is very tall.  They were very wobbly and looked unsafe.  Lots of bruising too.  It goes from under his toes to well up his leg and will be there for some time. It's very deep.

I wish you all a happy Christmas and a great new year.  I'm thinking of going to the midnight service at the Anglican church just up the road.  However, I may need to get DIL to pick me up afterwards.  It's only a few minutes walk but after midnight in Enmore does not sound inviting.  The footpaths are quite rough in some spots and one person with an ankle injury is more than enough in the house.

I'm looking forward to the new year and a much better one than last year.  In one sense last year was good in that it saw the finalising of several matters.  The process, however, was horrible.  I'm looking around and hope to pick up somewhere to buy soon.  House settlement is the middle of January.

Friday, 17 December 2010

trips - not the holiday kind

Quiet around here, I notice.

I spent some time printing out sock recipes patterns for the Super Sock Club 2011.  I've matched them up to the yarn I chose and have packaged each item in bags and packed them away.

DIL and I have been busy with my son.  She's been ferrying him around and waiting in doctors' rooms etc.  Last Monday afternoon, there was a call from the government department where he works at Liverpool.  He had fallen on the stairs and wrecked his ankle and was in Liverpool emergency department.  She headed off to collect him.

Now he's always been an accident looking for a place to happen, but has been really quite sedate for about the last fifteen years.  Five years ago he had an ankle reconstructed to repair damage done as a teenager which was catching up  on him and a bad fall which tore a ligament.  He found that exceedingly painful.  X-rays taken at the hospital weren't conclusive and more detailed ones hadn't been developed.

He had gone downstairs to see some of the operations department guys and has no idea what happened.  The stairs he used don't have much traffic on them and he had to use his phone to get help.  Apparently, the security records from the log of when the door was used and the time the office received his call, suggest he many have been unconscious for a short time.  It's hard to see here, but a larger photo shows they are concrete fire escape type stairs, narrow and awkward.

An ambulance was called as he was in extreme pain and couldn't move.  The photo shows a paramedic cutting off his sock after removing his good riding boot.  That needed a dose of morphine for them to accomplish. Then more morphine to cut off the sock.  Two more doses of morphine to remove him from the stairs, you can see another flight to the right.  More to put him on a chair and carry him to the stretcher which could not be brought nearer.  And some more at the hospital later.  I'd show you the picture of him on the ambulance stretcher about to be put in the vehicle, but you can see his face and I don't think he'd like that.  Not even when he wasn't in the state the photo shows. He's quite obviously totally plastered, off his face with all the morphine.  Click on photo to enlarge.

He went to his own doctor the next day and she ordered an MRI.  Two ligaments have been completely ripped off the bone, there are bone chips floating around.  In other words, an ankle reconstruction is needed on this foot too.  He managed to get in to the orthopaedic guy who did the last.  He was brilliant but that won't be till Tuesday.

He found a newish invention for such things.  A massive boot with velcro straps.  Inside it's lined with four inflatable bladders which are pumped up.  Much like an airbed.  It's supporting the ankle, giving him relief,  and exerting slight pressure on the swelling.  As that goes down, more air is pumped in.  He bought new elbow crutches and returned the unstable hospital ones which were adjusted to about their limit to accommodate his height.  So it;s been fun and games around here with three flights of stairs in this house,  Or perhaps not fun and games.

I'm about two thirds of the way through a Celtic Hearts shawl which will hopefully be finished at the weekend.  Am using some Bendigo wool I had.

Sunday, 12 December 2010

nativity scenes

I brought out the set  today which I purchased a couple of weeks ago.  None of the photos taken are really good.  The shelf they are standing on is part of the divider between our kitchen and the lounge area.  Dining room is behind me at the other end of the kitchen.

The problem is that I'm short.  There are three steps down to the lounge.  If I stood on them I was not high enough.  Standing next to preparation bench was not right either.  The barbed wire in the background is part of a  spur on an enormous concrete boot DIL bought at Arts preview night at the Royal Easter Show some years ago.

The figures in this scene are clothed in rich dark colours which is what drew my attention in the first place.  I love the curve of the figures as well.  Something a little bit different to many I could have bought.

I'm glad I bought them.  To me, many of the nativity scenes are sickly sweet.  Some are just plain dreadful, cheap and nasty.  I doubt if the kings saw the baby at this stage.  He would have been a toddler when they arrived, most likely and the number, three is supposed purely because of the number of gifts.

Still, tradition has its place and I intend enjoying my purchase.

Saturday, 11 December 2010

unexpected FO!

Sometimes tidying up can have unexpectedly good results.  I had a bonus when cleaning up just the yarn in my room yesterday.  An almost FO.

Some years ago, before I became interested in lace, I started a Comfort Shawl.  It was done in some Optrim purchased from Virginia Farm Works at a Spinners and Weavers Open Day.

I was soon bored stiff with the thing and if it hadn't been for the idea of the shawl, I would not have continued.  I introduced some pale blue/grey mohair, bought at the same place, to break the boredom.  It didn't, so I pulled the needles out and left undoing it till some other time.

Today I opened a bag and found the shawl.  After several years it still bored me.  Then I had another look. While the original shawl was much larger than this, it could be used as a shoulder shawl or even as a scarf.  I looked at the stitches.  All bar about three of them had stayed put and not unravelled at all.  Those three were at the end of a row and were easily fixed.  So I took it downstairs, picked up over two hundred stitches and cast off.  Forty five minutes was all it took to finish the thing and it's now added to present basket.  

As I look at the photo, I see that I would prefer shorter gaps between picot edges.  This is a gap of ten stitches, because that was what worked well with the number of stitches on the needle.  I think perhaps seven or eight would be better.  It's very soft and will be pleasantly squishy around the neck in winter.

Friday, 10 December 2010

super special six pattern sock club 2011

Here's the link (Rav) for the super special, six pattern sock club for 2011.

Members are voting on six patterns each and we will all be knitting the same sock  at the same time.  Socks are to be knit from stash.  There's quite a variety of patterns, although I think the main patterns have been chosen.  There are a few outs allowed and as was said, who's going to police it anyway?  Some have chosen to be associate members as they are not sure of time commitment and some have chosen to allow a wildcard on a pattern or yarn.

I was surprised that I had lots of choice.  I used sock yarn from my room only, nothing actually packed away and there was lots more than this.  All accumulated in the one year we have been here.  It's a year next week.

As you can see , there's lots from Ailsa at Knitabulous.  The gree is Emerald Isle also hers.  Some from Needlefood no longer available and one from Wired for Fibre.

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Socks that Rock finished

One more pair finished and ready for next winter.  This is the Moody Autumn Rainbow from Socks that Rock.  I bought this yarn from Lynne S at Yarnivorous in a small destash she had.  It was called medium weight.

These were knit on 2.75 mm rosewood needles.  The knitting is very even and I think they look great.  While they've taken me  a while to finish, the actual knitting time was fairly short.  I just had other things to do at the time.  I've even forgotten just when I started them.  56 stitches is ample for me in this weight.  The legs are quite long, not kneehighs , but longer than I often make.  They should be warm next winter, wherever I am then.

I've given up looking for a while at houses and units.  I am hoping for a bit of a downturn after Christmas in the market.  Lots of money with not much to show for it.  I'm very tempted to move to the Blue Mountains which I love.  I can get a decent house with established garden, near transport, for the price of a single bedroom unit in Sydney.  My sons love it up there too, butI have to recognise they would not be able to visit as often as I would like.  Not only that but the market is very slow.  Some places there have been on sale for months and months.  Well priced, pleasant position, apparently good condition.  If I had to sell, it could take  a while. I have an appointment next week to see a financial adviser from Centrelink.  I've not used this service before, but I know several who have and have been pleased with the advice given.

Sometimes I envy Sweetpea.  She's been like this on one corner of my bed all morning.  Such activity made her hungry and she did come downstairs to demand lunch.  Her colour shows well, but the cover on my bed is a navy blue.  She came back upstairs after she had eaten and is now sleeping off her meal!

Friday, 3 December 2010

nativity scenes

Here's something different today.  After all who wants to look at another 2 cm on a sock.

Not only did  I buy myself a nativity tableau the other week, but I've been searching for biscuit cutters which could be purchased in Australia to save exorbitant US postage and poor delivery times from them.

I found these at Koorong, after following quite a few results from a Google search.  Koorong has branches in many Australian cities which are listed in the sidebar of the page.  These are under GIFTS in catalogue.  I think the postage rate was quoted as $3 for Australia.

If you are interested, I would suggest placing a phone order.  Their ordering system is sort of OK but their registration etc is totally frustrating.  I actually have an account there which is used perhaps once annually.  I put in my email address to log in, but it wouldn't accept my password.  It suggested  going to a page to retrieve password which sent me back to the original page.  Round and round.  So I decided to create a new account with a different email address.  All it would say was that my mail address suggested I already had an account.  Did I want to retrieve password?  And the vicious circle started again.  I tried to change password but it told me nothing matched.  Aaargh!

I was describing the mess to DIL who offered to buy what I wanted as she was going that afternoon to Ikea which in Sydney is near the main branch of Koorong.  My problem was solved, but the system is poor.  I gave her the money and she bought it in person for me.

The detail on the cutters is not well defined, but I suppose it's hard to put too much fine detail on something used as a pattern for biscuit dough.  There are twelve shapes to chose from including the star and the heart.  There's also a biscuit recipe on the container but I think I'll use my own.  There are shapes for  an angel, manger, baby, donkey, camel, Mary, Joseph, shepherd, king, star, heart and lamb.

You can see it mentions a devotional booklet.  I wouldn't call it that at all, so if that bothers you, don't worry about it.  It's a small piece of folded paper listing the characters and animals and giving a Bible verse for each.  Nothing more really.

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

kouyou shawl done

It was a dark and stormy night.  The rain fell heavily.  Wait, let's start again.  It was only 8:15 in the morning but was very dark.  If I had taken this picture as a video, the drops falling and bouncing on the table would have been obvious.  All should be green here with the amount of rain over the last few weeks but my son has plans for landscaping the whole area and some of it has been sprayed with a weedkiller in preparation for that.

I see a cooler summer than usual has been forecast.  I won't be sorry to avoid the 40+° temperatures we've occasionally had over the last couple of years.  However, while fires may not be bad this year with lots of dampness, next year may not be good with the growth from this year providing fuel for a bushfire.  

Silly little Sweetpea was shut outside yesterday when it was fine and stayed out when it started to rain.  She was sopping wet when DIL remembered and let her in.  What was annoying was that she could have been under shelter in the little airlock system we have.  She could have come in the open back door and sat by her feed bowl, well out of the rain, if not in the actual house.  Neither she nor DIL was very happy about things.  When I opened the door this morning, she took one look out and ran up the stairs.  She'll just have to use her tray if needed.

So here's the finished Kouyou shawl.  It's done on 5 mm needles with Bendigo 8 ply Classic in Maize. I bought two of their big balls and almost got away with one.  The last five rows of the shawl came from the second ball.  It was an easy knit, but I needed to concentrate to keep my stitch count right.  I didn't use markers between repeats as there were times when there were decreases at the end of the repeat and markers needed shifting each time.  Instead, I counted.  Accurately most of the time.  I would count on the back row to make sure count was correct.  That way I was warned if I needed to check progress and perhaps pick up a yarnover if I'd left one out.

The pattern uses four types of decreases and I also watched that I used the right one.  There were knit 2 together, slip one knit one, pass the slipped stitch over.  Also used was slip one, knit 2 together and psso and the final was slip2 as if to knit together, knit 1 and pass the two slipped stitches over.  The correct one to use at any time was fairly obvious.  These different  decreases are what give the pattern the texture and direction which attracted me to it in the beginning.

The picot edges were made by casting on several stitches using the backwards loop method and then casting those stitches off.  This is not my favourite method but as it was suggested, I went with it.  You can see from the photo that some of the picots are a bit sloppy with a loose edge from the cast on.  I was reading the latest  Yarn magazine this morning at breakfast and there is an article on various edgings in it.  A similar method is  used  as a picot edge, but the article suggests the cable cast on.  That is what I would have preferred but I went with the directions.  I'll use that method next time.

It's just become darker.  Heavier rain on teh way I think.  I'm supposed to be going out shortly but may not go.  Today's forecast is for "Rain, heavy at times and thunderstorms."  A good day to be inside.

Tuesday, 30 November 2010

ta da! another FO

I'm about to rescue my finished Kouyou shawl from the tub where it's been soaking for a long time already this morning.  Hopefully it will be dry tomorrow to be photographed.  That hopefully is really meant.  It's very wet here today and showers are forecast till next Monday at least.

Now to finish the Socks that Rock second sock.

Thursday, 25 November 2010

with silver bells and cockleshells

Here is a picture of the Kouyou shawl in progress.  I'm using Bendigo Classic 8 ply in colour maize which is more golden than shows here.  There are  over 200 stitches now and the centre spine, shown here has been discontinued.

This is about a third of the way through the lacy edge, 16/47 rows done now.  When the edging is done there is a cast off involving not only casting off but also increasing to make pronounced points on the shawl.

The pattern is quite easy but definitely requires that I pay attention to it.  My stitch count was right a few rows back but I had missed a yarnover in one place and had actually allowed one somewhere else.  So count was right but stitch placement was totally out. It took me a while to find it and I had to unpick quite a long way.

My latest book arrived a few days ago, but I forgot to photograph it.  The patterns are lovely and I'm happy with it.  The charts are a reasonable size to follow.  Often when I photocopy a book pattern to use when knitting, I have to enlarge the page to get a clear copy of the chart.  These charts are fine.

As I said, the patterns are pretty but the photos look dated.  Something about the hairstyles and also about the posing of the models make the book   look older than it is.  Imprint date is 2009.  I found I needed to look past the actual photos to consider the pattern of the piece without prejudice.

The second photo shows the Cockleshell shawl.  It's done in 4 ply fingering and again there's a dated look to the photo.

A couple of days ago, I and several others from Sydney met a woman from a forum I frequent.   She and her husband were out here from Aberdeen in northern Scotland to attend a family wedding.  I gave her the Travelling Woman shawlette from a few entries down.  She liked it very much.  The wedding is  today, a lovely day as the strong winds here in Sydney have dropped somewhat.  There were to be five Scotsmen in kilts in the wedding party.

Monday, 22 November 2010

christmas is coming and the geese are getting fat

I had a post scheduled for yesterday, but when I checked late last night, there was nothing.  I have no idea what happened, it definitely was there in the morning.  So here's a bit of reconstruction.

Here's a phone picture of part of the Christmas tree in the Queen Victoria Building in Sydney.  The publicity says it's more than 24 metres high and there are over 64,000 lights on it.  This is part of it, looking toward the top dome in the roof.  Each candle is made of hundreds of Swarovski crystals.

I like Christmas trees but prefer living trees.  Sadly, both I have are metal sculptures.  I'd rather not have a theme to the colour scheme as I like to use the old traditional ornaments which have been passed down.

Dad was a teacher and we used to finish school then just a few days before Christmas.  We'd go into a bushy area near our house and cut a few pieces of sheoak, casuarina trees.  He would make these into a tree.  They looked great.  Some crepe paper streamers and the cards and the house would be decorated.  Everything was down on the 6th January.  I still adhere to this schedule for my preference.

Mum rarely attended church but was definite that decorations went up after the end of the Advent season. Today, I stick with that and also try to have all purchases made before Advent which starts next Sunday.

I went downstairs in the QVB and saw a window with Victoria's Basement goods in it.  I saw a coffee mug, boxed, in the brand and design which I mentioned a couple of weeks ago.  My son and DIL gave me  a 12 piece dinner setting plus some extra pieces.  They had it shipped back from Sri Lanka.  I know the prices of that brand.  However, I was horrified at this coffee mug's price.  This is a discount shop.  The mug was $70 for one.

While I was there, I had a look at their nativity scenes. I've always wanted one.  I found one which  had beautiful colours and some modern, flowing shapes to the figures.  It was the last like it and had no box.  The set was marked $199 down to something under $100.  I paid $40 and was happy to do so.  Photos when I put it up.  I wonder about the $199 but I've seen some truly terrible resin sets in bargain shops for $60-70, so I suppose it's possible.

I'm almost down to the end of the stocking stitch part of the new shawl I'm doing.  The second Socks that Rock sock is almost to the heel turn.  Progress.

Friday, 19 November 2010

what was that again?

I'm now part of the way down the leg of the second sock in the colours shown in the post below below.  It's very easy knitting and knits up very evenly.

I've also cast on in Bendigo 8 ply Classic for this lovely shawl.  It casts on four stitches on the knit row and a stitch each end on the purl row. This makes a curved finish to the neckline which should stay on the shoulders well.  I'm making the biggest size to wrap around well.

Now, for your Friday afternoon, end of week amusement.

These three examples of real estate speak are all taken verbatim from the enormous real estate section of our local paper.  I've waded through one hundred pages of that section this week.  No, these are not typos on my part.  Ads just as they appear in the paper.  Two of them were written by two of the largest agent franchises in Sydney, the third by a slightly smaller group.

this home is testament to feeling of village and a place for those with a penchant for restored homes with little compromise  I can see what they are trying to say, but really!

...designed to embrace a wealth of northern light across an array of striking architectural flourishes... Perhaps this author writes epic poetry in spare time?

with an imprestated style and a blisffully welckoming ambience this exemplary residence offers modern confidante buying What does this rubbish mean?  Imprestated?? Welckoming?? Confidante??

STR sock 1

So here's the first of the Socks That Rock pair.  As you can see there's just a little bit of wool left .  This was the first ball I wound from the hank.  I wound off  77 grams as the ball band suggested that there  were 155 grams in the hank. Then I found the second ball was much bigger.  On weighing I found there were 177 grams total in the hank.

I like long legs on my socks.  I find them more comfortable and warmer than shorter legs.  In addition I don't like  a band of bare leg between the bottom of trousers and the top of socks.  So I decided that with the possibility of extra wool on the second ball, I'd make good long legs.  Even after I'd finished the sock, I hadn't touched any of the extra available.  There's just a very small amount left.  Which means there will be about 20 gm left over from the second ball.

The yarn was pleasant to knit.  Quick too.  Done on 2.75 mm rosewood needles and 56 stitches, they are ample for me.

However, look at the two pictures.  The sock could almost have been done with two separate colours.  Green/purple one side and mostly pink the other.  Now I recognise that colour and stripes are partly a function of the number of stitches, but I'm glad these were muted colours.  I would not have been happy with obvious bright pooling.

Thursday, 18 November 2010


I'm now well down the foot of the first sock from the Socks That Rock yarn I bought from Lynne.  The cuff is shown in the post below.

It's called medium weight and is knitting up really well.  I haven't managed to split the wool with the needle at all yet.  I'll put in a photo later if I get it done in time.

When I started, I grabbed the needles from the upside down cone of wool where I normally store  the most used dpns, saves burrowing for them.  I was part way down the rib when I realised these were longer needles than my knitpicks, although they were a fairly similar colour.  I had another look.  I was given 2.75 rosewood dpns a few years ago, and it was these I was using.  Actually the fabric is great.  It's firm and strong without being stiff.

In other good news - I bought a new denim skirt the other day.  Just a straight one with pockets.  Nothing fancy at all.  I'd had one for years and when I moved out three years ago, threw it out as it was entirely disreputable.  What pleased me was that this was a size down from what I normally wear.  What's more, it is loose although I think the next size would be too small at the moment.  I need to find a belt as it's slipping down.  This is knee length and easy to wear.  I have two others and they are longer, not really comfortable for just around the house.

I've done nothing in particular to cause this except trying to walk a bit more every day.  Two more sizes down and I'll be very happy.  I think it's possibly all bound up with tying up old threads and looking for new beginnings to my life.  No walking for the last week.  My feet have been very sore and swollen and I think an elephant kicked my ankle, it's been impossibly sore, beyond even touching.

I'd rather not call it losing weight and it's certainly not dieting.  As someone once said, if weight is "lost," then it's all too easy to "find" it again!

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

sri lankan softies

DIL spends at least a month each year in Sri Lanka.  They have bought land there.

She loves "different things."  When newcomers to what her  taste chooses arrive, they are usually wowed by what she currently has as decoration around the place. Apart from books, that is.  Lots and lots and lots of them all over the place.

Things are cheap in Sri Lanka.  She buys a lot of her clothes there and many other things.  We're currently using cutlery from there and they once shipped home for me a full 12 piece dinner service in what is a very well known top quality brand.  It was chosen as a birthday present for me and it's beautiful.  I made sure to take it with me when I left my former home.  It's white with an edging of  crimson and gold.  It's made there and the twelve piece setting, several sizes of plates and bowls and both cups and mugs, together with shipping cost a fraction of the cost here of a six serve service.  So I really have much more than twice as much as a normal service would give.  It was a totally unexpected present too.  Asterix and Tintin books are printed there and are again worth the cost of shipping home as they retail for about $1.50.

So here's some stuff from the latest trip.  I see several bloggers have started to keep chooks in their backyards.  Well, we couldn't do that in the inner west, but we have our own resident chook.  Certainly well bedecked in colourful finery.  She makes her nest on a corner of one of the leather lounges.  She's quite friendly with the snake peering over her shoulder.  He's large, but not as large as they come.  His body goes along the back of the four seater lounge and his tail dangles down the other end of the arm.

An elephant in some form or other usually comes back with her.  She brought a herd of tiny elephants on a coffee mug and this one.  The little splashes of red are hand embroidered french knots with satin stitch leaves.  What about the octopus?  I'm sure some child would love this.  It's very bright and has lot of places to chew.  More of her eclectic taste can be seen in the jar of marbles, all secondhand ones from op shops.  And how about Humphrey?  I did not realise he was in the picture or I would have composed it more carefully and not lopped off his head.

The other four seater lounge opposite the chook's roosting spot has two more toys.  A very colourful and quite comfortable fish shaped cushion and a rhino who stands ready to challenge anyone who might sit in his spot.  We also have lots of linen and some beautiful wall hangings with much detail in them.  They are not up yet.

Now, not from Sri Lanka but Reverse Garbage in Addison Road.  They have a section for exhibitions and this is made entirely from recycled bits and pieces.  The artist who does this makes enormous similar pieces.  There is a light to backlight it.  When you stand in front it's easy to pick out the components, a bit of a blender, a hairbrush etc.  Seen from a distance, it presents a city scape.  It was from an exhibition and she wishes she could have afforded a larger piece.

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

socks that rock and blocking

So here's Travelling Woman blocked early this morning.  I think she won't dry out till tomorrow as the sky is very drippy and much the same colour as the shawl.  In fact, it's been raining now for at least two hours.  Very wet rain, thick, although not pelting down.  When I moved the blanket from the table, there was condensation under the blanket.

Do you like my gratuitous phone pic?  Product placement it's called if I were getting any money for it.  It's a hand me down from DIL who upgraded.  I did have my son's old iPhone but it was chipped in the corner.  Hers is fine.  I never thought I'd say this, but I love it.  I use lots of the facilities as they are so much easier to navigate and use than my old phone was.  Old phone was falling apart, so I would have had to do something about a new one anyway.

Here's some detail from the shawl.  I had some wool leftover so did a bit of an edge around the triangle.  The Brangian shawl pattern has a chart of amount each successive pattern repeat uses.  If there had been such a thing it would have been good.  I would have known that I probably had enough yarn to do a third repeat of Chart A.

After I finished pinning the shawl out, I wound a skein of the Socks That Rock which I bought from Lynne at Yarnivorous last week.  This is called Muddy Autumn Rainbow.  I like it here and will do just plain stocking stitch socks.  I wound half of it after noting that the skein contained 155 grams.  Broke the wool and would the rest.  That'll teach me!  I should have weighed it before I wound any of it.  I now have a second ball much bigger than the first I wound.  When I weighted the two after seeing this, the total was 178 grams

Monday, 15 November 2010

home sweet home

It's just before 9:00 am and I've blocked Travelling Woman.  Pictures when dry, possibly tomorrow.  Today's quite different to yesterday.  It's grey and feels cool, although it's 24° which is supposedly the maximum.  I know spring weather is fickle, but really, it's November.  We've had winter temperature days and nights for ages with quite a bit of rain. No complaints about the rain.  This is  a dry country. Yesterday was over 30° here and today the maximum forecast is 24°.  It's that already but the grey is restful, a bit like the colour of Travelling Woman.

I've been following both real estate sites here for ages, just to get a feel for what is around.  Settlement on former home will be mid-January, but DIL suggests it's time to actually physically look at places advertised.  Pictures of course can lie, and agents don't take pictures of less than pleasant rooms.  They also use various lenses to accentuate good points and take their photos from quirky angles.  If there are many outdoor photos in an ad and few of indoors, or if the kitchen and bathroom are not shown, then I wonder why that emphasis.

DIL rang me early on Saturday to say there was a place open for inspection just a few minutes from here.  Photos are shown here.

This is three houses down from a busy intersection with traffic lights.  It's been a rental property and is tired and grubby and needs rejuvenation, as well as some repair work on plaster in the supposed third bedroom.  The kitchen has been done up, although the photo is better than reality.  The ideas used in kitchen are quite good for the space, but cheap and nasty cupboards and benchtops have been used in a quick fix for sale.  The bathroom is good and a really pleasant room.  There is no laundry and the outside photo flatters reality.  The lounge room now is empty of furniture and all the grubbiness is easily seen.

Now have a look at this one.  This is barely five minutes walk from the previous property but the suburb name has changed to one which is regarded more in many terms.  This higher regard shows in real estate prices usually.  This is eight years old, was also a rental for all those years.  It has three bedrooms, three bathrooms and a fourth toilet. It has covered security garaging for two cars with internal access to the place from garage. This is where I now live and while the place's value has gone up considerably from the purchase price shown, the difference betwen the two places is amazing.

I asked the agent for an estimated price on the place on Saturday.  He said there had been a pre-auction offer of $760,000, well over what was actually paid for this place.  When my home was sold a month ago, it was auctioned.  Before the auction, several offers were made.  Price reached was well over $100,000 more than the highest offer.  That's often the case.

Now I love older homes, high ceilings, character etc.  This place here has high ceilings for a new place.  But really, where's the value in that small place?

Sunday, 14 November 2010

travelling woman wears grey

This lovely ball of squishiness is from K1M1 at A little bit crafty.  Squishy is hardly the word, it's beautiful to feel, so very, very soft.  This is about 940 metres of laceweight cashmere.  100 grams.

The patterns in my Knits from the North Sea book which is on order, use laceweight for most of them, so I think I will very likely find something which will go well with this yarn there.  There's plenty of yarn so I won't be stopped by not having enough.  Thank you very much, I love it.

The book Little Women and others in the series were favourites of mine when I was younger.  I remember reading about dresses in "dove grey silk."  Well this isn't silk but the true colour is just a bit lighter than shown here, dove grey.  It's a  mix of merino and cashmere. I can imagine Meg wearing this a a shawlette around her shoulders.  This is hot off the needles and you see it unblocked.  Blocking will add some size to it.  I think this is the third Travelling Woman shawl I have done.  The others were in thicker 8 ply so were larger.  I may possibly have had enough yarn to do a third repeat of  the first chart, but i wasn't sure, so I've kept to the smaller size.

Blocking tomorrow if it's still fine.  If the temperature is anything like today's, it won't take long to dry.

Friday, 12 November 2010

christmas is coming and the geese are getting fat

I don't know about the geese but Christmas is coming and the decorations are going up all, over the place.  I was in the city yesterday and walked through the Queen Victoria Building.  Every year they have a huge tree up to the dome in the roof.  The sign near it says it's 24 metres high.  My phone photo shows only a portion of the top part of the  tree.  Not only is is enormous but the sign also says there are over 64,000 lights on it.

The candles on the tree are made of hundreds of Swarovski crystals.  It's fairly understated in the decoration, despite the size.  I don't particularly care whether Christmas trees have a theme from year to year, and are all tizzed up in silver and purple or only ice blue or whatever. I prefer a proper tree rather than something artificial and I prefer traditional ornaments with some  family history behind them.  I'm traditional too in putting up both tree and decorations late in the season for many people.  My mother was not a churchgoer but decorations in our place went up after the season of Advent which is the four Sundays prior to Christmas.  They came down promptly on Twelfth Night or Epiphany, early into January.  By both tradition and inclination, I follow this too.

Dad was a teacher and when I was in primary school the holidays did not start till somewhere around the 19th December.  They seem to have moved back that way for the last few years.  I  enjoyed that.  Not much was done before Christmas and the later breakup meant more time available after Christmas .  We usually went to to the bush near our place and Dad would cut several pieces of casuarina or sheoak from different trees.  These would be artistically arranged  and we would spend an afternoon decorating.

As I walked back through the QVB, I looked in the window for Victoria's Basement.  This is a discount seller of kitchen goods, homewares, knives and lots more.  I was astounded to see boxed coffee mugs from the design I mentioned  which was given to me.  I knew it was an expensive brand of good reputation.  One coffee mug was $70.  I decided against totting up the number of pieces and their value in the 12+ setting I was given with extra bowls and plates.  Obviously it would be $$$$.  I'm just looking forward to using it when I get my own place.

What I did see there were lots of nativity sets.  I've always wanted one.  Ex-husband thought they were akin to superstition.  I've  had trouble finding one I liked and could afford.  I saw one in the Victoria's Basement window, so braved the crowd and went down.  I'll post pictures of it when I put it up in a few weeks.  It's modern, gorgeous colours and different.  It was the last they had like that.  Theoretically it had been $199.  I'm not sure  about that, but some pretty horrible resin caricatures are about $70, so I suppose it's possible.  There was no box for this last one and they weren't getting any more in.  I paid $40 and was happy with my purchase.

A purchase I have NOT been happy with was the membership of the Lush Yarns Luxury Yarn Club.  I paid quite a lot of money for this back in July for delivery over September, October and November.  I joined because I had bought beautiful yarn several times  from them and had always had good service from them.  Shortly after the purchase went through, one of the partners left.  The September yarn came several weeks into October and there was much comment on the Ravelry Lush group.

No October yarn came in October and questions were asked again.  No one could get a reply to messages or emails.  Not a word of reply even to messages left on other web sites she operates.  A few days ago, much of the yarn on the site was drastically reduced.  I suspect a fire sale or possibly worse.  A new yarn club was opened just a few days ago.  I really hope it works for those who may have joined.  Then on Friday, my October and November yarn arrived in one parcel.  It's not been pleasant and has left a nasty taste in the mouths of many of us.  I won't be buying from her again.

Thursday, 11 November 2010

eye candy

Lots of eye candy here and few words today. These are the skeins from yesterday's entry.

First up is some raspberry from Knitabulous.  This one is bright, very bright.  It's her supersoft merino sock yarn.  I've used this yarn in a shawl before and it's turned out well.  I have  no plans for it yet. However, I often find that when I buy new yarn without a particular plan for it, as I let it simmer in the back of my mind, the right project for it emerges.  I shall let this one simmer, I think.

Then there's the Online sockewool.  Lots of colours here and they look great in the skein.  These I think will be  socks for a friend or perhaps one of my daughters-in-law who has been dropping hints lately that it's been a long time since the last pair of socks.  Her birthday is in March which is next year, almost an age away.  Not really, it's November already.  Probably just plain knitting.  There are a lot of colours here, and I wonder if a pattern would be lost in the colours.  Plain would show off the variety of shades.

Here's the Bella Coola Socks that Rock yarn.  Now the dollar is so high, I would possibly buy from the States.  However, this came from Lynne S at Yarnivorous in a destash sale.  It took only a day in the post from Victoria to Sydney.  That's a lot quicker than it would have been from USA.  I've never been particularly impressed by the speed of their postal service, although my son often buys from eBay there and seems to have no problem.  Amazon purchases take weeks to get here.

Finally the second Socks that Rock skein.  This is Muddy Autumn Rainbow colourway.  Some of the shades are muddy but they all work well together.  Again probably plain socks, I think.

Both the Socks that ROck skeins are medium weight.  They are soft and feel as if they will be pleasant to knit and warm to wear.

remembrance day

In Flanders Fields

By: Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, MD (1872-1918)
Canadian Army

In Flanders Fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

odds and ends

I spent some time in Morris and Sons and met a fellow Raveller.  The yarn I had, while darkish, did not really match the yarn she had been knitting with.  However, it seemed identical to another skein from Ailsa which she had been given.  So the problem was solved.  She would use those two skeins for her project and frog the first knitting.  We traded and I now have some of Ailsa's very hot pink supermerino sock wool to replace my Tokyo Rose.  I was also given a ball of Online Supersocke sock wool as a thank you. It feels lovely and has bamboo, wool and nylon in it. 420 metres, so plenty for socks. Pictures hopefully tomorrow.

I also bought from Lynne at Yarnivorous two skeins of Socks That Rock in a destash sale she had.  Posted yesterday from Victoria, DIL brought them home from the PO box today.  Sometimes Australia Post is very quick.  Again, pictures tomorrow.

While I was in Morris and Sons, I browsed through a gorgeous book called Knits from the North Sea.  It has sixteen patterns of beautiful and practical knits with lots of Shetland patterns.  The blurb says for laceweight, but really, I'd try many of them in fingering or even eight ply.  I know books are expensive here.  They are mostly imported and the market for knitting books is quite small in terms of other countries,  But the book was $65, so I replaced it on the shelf.  On arrival at home, I checked  and ordered from the Book depository.  You can see it here and see a very favourable review too.  You can also see the book in Australian dollars, $26.50.  I ordered it, of course.

Just as well too.  Later that afternoon I had a lovely email telling me I had won some blue laceweight pure cashmere from M1K1, Jennifer, at a Little Bit Crafty. Thank you very much.  Just as well I'm feeling more like knitting now.  I have lovely yarn to use and no shortage of new patterns to try.

Right now, I'm busy on some Christmas decoration socks, pattern by Jean Greenhowe, for a charity Christmas stall in a couple of weeks.  I made quite a few of these two years ago and am now doing more. Go to whoa in under 30 minutes.

I've also just started yet another Travelling Woman shawl in some Lush merino/cashmere yarn in shades of grey. I'm about to start the lace, first part.

It's good to be feeling back in the groove.

Monday, 8 November 2010

recalcitrant yarn

I have a skein of very recalcitrant yarn.  It's so bad I've decided it really does not want to be made into anything.  In a way, that's fine - the colours are beautiful those of a beautiful sunrise in summer.  I'd gladly sit and look at it if I had somewhere to display it.

I've had this yarn for some years.  The ball band was discarded on my first attempt to wind it. All I can tell from the wraps per inch test is that it's fingering, which I had guessed anyway.

Some years ago I set out to wind it and was thwarted by the tangle it was in.  So I put it aside.   A week ago I found it again and thought it would be just right for a cowl I had in mind.  So I started to wind it.  What a mess, tangles, knots and even knots in the length of the yarn itself.  Not cut ends and joins, just knots which had to be prised apart and loosened before I could continue with the main tangle. Not only was it tangled, but it was sticky yarn to undo, catching on other threads like mohair.

I spent some hours on it before setting it aside in disgust.  The next day I was called up the coast to mind grandchildren while my son was in hospital in the emergency room.  He's better now, although real cause was just a guess, backed up by good reaction to drugs prescribed.  I took the yarn, thinking I might finish it.  Miss Ten saw it and really wanted to try.  She's very bright and intelligent but has a short attention span, so I let her have a go.  I thought she would not last long at it.  She persevered for an hour and it was finally done.

Through the week I cast on for the cowl.  It's a very simple pattern from a stitch dictionary.  Six rows with inverted "Vs" every few stitches.  Then another six with the next lot of eyelets offset to the first.  I could do it with my eyes shut.  Wrong.  Even with eyes open, I managed to make a mistake somehow and one set of eyelets was in the wrong place all across the row.  This was halfway up the cowl.

I ripped back to before the mistake.  The yarn was sticky and didn't want to be ripped back.  It was quite difficult to see just where to pick things up so I did not make the same mistake again.  I finally frogged the lot.  The yarn has been returned to the stash although I loved the colours and the combination of that and the pattern I had chosen.

On a more positive note... I'm meeting a fellow Raveller from Sydney today.  She needs another skein of Ailsa's (Knitabulous) Tokyo Rose yarn to complete a project.  From photos, mine looks like a match for her yarn.  So we are meeting in a very dangerous place, Morris  & Sons.  Fortunately I'm not in dire need of anything so hope to resist temptation.  If my yarn is good for her, we'll do a trade.  It's very hard to tell from photos.  Red is hard to capture the right colour and monitors make a difference too.

Saturday, 6 November 2010

photo for ravelry seeker, really just a placemarker entry

Just uploading a photo for a person looking for this type of yarn in a particular colour.

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

look! up in the sky! it's a bird, it's a plane it's ...

... super grandma to the rescue.

Middle of the day on Sunday and the phone rang.  It was one DIL.  My son was in hospital with excruciating stomach cramps.  Could I please come up and mind Miss Ten and Master Five?  Cause of pain was unknown as was time in hospital.  An elderly neighbour had been minding them for a couple of hours.

I threw things for a couple of days into a case, figuring I could always do some washing if needed. Caught the train to Central, then found there was trackwork on northern line and there were no trains to Newcastle.  Buses only.  So I hurried around and just caught the Central Coast bus.  The trip was pleasant, but so slow.  It took almost two hours, where the train takes a bit over an hour.  Neighbour lady was pleased to see me as they had been getting "a bit restless."  I think they had been threatened with the end of the world by DIL if they misbehaved for her, so they had watched DVDs, coloured in, read stories etc.  We thanked her profusely and when she had gone I took them outside where they ran wild for a couple of hours and wore off some pent-up energy.

The doctors finally decided son had had spasms in bowel muscles and they gave him a muscle relaxant designed to combat such things.  They arrived home early in the evening.  Son was an interesting colour, very ashen but had apparently also been green and white earlier.

He is now recovered and seems to think it was something he ate which did  not move along as it should and gut tried to force it sending itself into spasms trying.

Then yesterday middle son rang. Today was grandparents day at his children's school.  Could I put in an appearance?  So off I trotted, far too early for my liking.  They live quite close to Parramatta but on teh western side and there aren't many trains which stop at their station going west in the morning.  We sorted out a bus from Parramatta which went past the school.  I had 30 minutes to observe three different classes.  That was obviously not going to work, so the eldest told me to omit his class.  He was the stage manager for the concert which followed the observation so was preparing  for that.  He normally handles microphone and sound duties for assemblies there.

There was a book fair in the library.  I hadn't been told about that and had little cash on me,  so had to use my card to buy a book each.  They chose reasonably sensibly, but books which they would enjoy.  The concert was a typical school concert.  The CD player did not always work when needed, the little ones took forever to enter and leave and there was always at least one person whose actions were out of sync with every one else.

Morning  tea followed the concert.  One of my granddaughters is a diagnosed coeliac sufferer and her brother and sister may be.   They certainly function better on a gluten free diet. There was a cake stall and my son had sent suitable biscuits for them .  However no one knew anything about that and no one was prepared to  find them.  Andrew tracked them down and we had the privilege of buying back the biscuits which had already been bought and paid for once at home.

Almost lunchtime and we finished the morning reading what I had bought.  So grandma duties have been duly accomplished for a while.  I suppose end of term activities will be next.  Andrew goes to High School next year and will have a farewell assembly for his class.

Sunday, 31 October 2010

blogtoberfest over

Here it is, the last day of October.  It's a month I'm pleased to say goodbye too, although it reminds me of how close Christmas is.  It's a month I will see as a milestone with the sale of the house, although I'll get no money from that till mid-January next year.

I've struggled with Blogtoberfest tis year.  My head hasn't been in the right place at all to cope with it.  I missed one day this time around and none at all last year.  Last year I visited a lot of blogs which were new to me and I still keep up with some of them via Google Reader.  This year, I started out following blogs new to me, but haven't read nearly s many as last year.

Hopefully things will be different next year.

Saturday, 30 October 2010

moda noir shawl

So here's the finished shawl, warts and all, as I suggested in the previous post.  Taken on my phone indoor but the colours are reasonably true.  Yarn is Moda Noir from Spitlite on special, so shawl cost less than $5.

I like the colours but probably won't buy more of this yarn, not even for socks.  Down on bottom left, two of the several patches of undyed yarn can be seen.  I suppose I could try and match the colour with a texta or similar but I'm not going to even bother.  This will be used as a scarf or light shoulder throw at home in cool weather.  I'm counting the imperfections as part of the whole deal, meal deal so to speak.  It was done for a specific time and purpose as some relaxation and meditation during an unpleasant period of time when I couldn't concentrate  on anything more complex.  I am planning on looking at progress made when I look  at this and see how far I've come.

In the early stages, the colours lasted more than one row.  As the rows grew longer, the colours changed quite frequently, sometimes even within a row.  When I spread the shawl on the table this morning, I had a surprise.  I suppose it's a  form of pooling, but the shawl is split down the centre spine into a light and a dark side.

Friday, 29 October 2010


I re-read yesterday's entry just now.  "Barring something extraordinary" was what I said.  A very silly thing to say too.

This morning I decided I'd clean the fridge and the freezer above it.  It wasn't grubby, just very disorganised.  The boarder here opens lots of things, rarely seals them properly and shoves them back anywhere.  He does teh same with biscuits and soft drinks.  There is actually some rhyme and  reason to the arrangements of things in both fridge and freezer, but it wasn't there this morning.

I had half the bottom section of the freezer tidied, had thrown out nearly finished packets of pastizzi which the boarder had opened, not sealed and the contents, usually just a couple, were freezer burnt and discarded by him.  Ditto to several small cartons of good icecream.  All icy and two had gone sticky.  Suddenly a large packet of frozen meat fell out onto my middle finger of the left hand.  I thought I'd broken it.  It was bruised almost immediately, there was a cut where it had been jammed against an edge and the swelling came up quickly.  Fortunately there was no lack of cold stuff to put on it.  Swelling has gone down mainly but the bruising and cut are still there and it's very difficult to type properly with a bodgy finger.

Don't tell me to talk to the guy.  We sort of tolerate each other.  I've known him for twenty years or so and he's always known everything there is to know about absolutely everything.  DIL gets through to him very occasionally and we've given up complaining to my son.  It puts him in a horrible position.  We've taken six months to stop him putting the good carving knives in the dishwasher as it blunts the edge.  He now has a firm job, so they will ask him to leave soon, I think.

However, I'd blocked the shawl which looks fine all pinned out.  It was fairly wet when I pinned it.  It won't be dry till tomorrow.  Nothing fancy, but it's bigger than I expected.

Thursday, 28 October 2010

coming down the home straight

Day 28 of Blogtoberfest 2010.  I've missed one day but should make it through to the end now, barring something extraordinary happening.  Last year I seemed to sail through the month.  This year has been harder and my mind has been faraway some days.

However, I'm getting there.  I finished the Moda Noir shawl today but it still needs blocking.  It could hardly have been simpler and even then, at times it was too much to think about.  I love the colours but possibly won't buy this sock yarn again.  It came from Spatlite on a 20% discount day which I hadn't even known about.  I bought an embroidery and this yarn for under $15 and the embroidery was close to $12.  So it was cheap.  It was OK to knit, it reminded me of Opal but was softer.  Opal feels like string to my poor fingers.  It knitted up fine.  However at the end it was a bit splitty for about the last ten grams.  I really like the colours, deep purples and various shades of grey.  However, more trouble at the end.

About five times in the last few grams, there were places where no dye had been applied and the colour was quite white for about 20 cm.  I always found these bits when I was in the middle of the row.  Several hundred stitches.

I thought about unpicking till the end, I even contemplated cutting the yarn and rejoining.  I did neither.  I couldn't face the unpicking or the darning in of the ends.  I thought about it and decided that this was a memento of a special time in my life and I'd leave it there, warts and all, figuratively speaking.  I did this as a distraction and a meditation, not as a show piece.  I always correct mistakes and have unpicked several hundred stitches to do so.  Not this time.  I see it as a neckerchief possibly or a light shoulder shawl perhaps worn at the computer on a cooler evening.  So the white bits stayed.  It's also a reminder that very often the cliché is true: you get what you pay for and the whole shawl was under $5  Mostly, the colours are pretty and it will be warm and soft.

Coming down the home straight on other fronts too.  A letter from the conveyancing people at the solicitors came today. A possible settlement date mid-January which was what I expected and notification of a six figure deposit paid into an interest bearing account.  Please supply tax file number so maximum  rate is not deducted from what the deposit earns at a reasonably healthy rate of interest.

I'm planning a pretty cowl for one DIL with the cashmerino from Lush mentioned  few posts ago. I've ordered some beads to use with it.

Things are looking up.

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

pendant bad photo

A bad photo of yesterday's impulse purchase of the glass pendant.  It's quite thick and I like the heaviness.  I also like heavy pens and always put the top back on to make them heavier and I also like heavy jewellery and cutlery.  Perhaps I should have waited till this afternoon when there would probably have been more light in my room for a photo.  For such a cheap purchase, it's attracted quite few favourable comments.  There was nothing to indicate the maker or country of origin.

For some time Cindy2paw tested the recipes put out by Coles with Curtis Stone's name endorsing them.  Feed a family of four for  $10" was the advertising for them.  She wrote about them on her blog and I tested quite a few too and agreed with her conclusions.  The servings were small and the flavour bland.  Yesterday's Sydney Morning Herald announced the Shonky Awards by Choice magazine, from the consumer body of the same name.  Guess what?  This promotion earned a Shonky.  Not for the tiny serves, three prawns for example in a serve, nor the bland flavour.  Choice rapped Coles over the knuckles for the $10 claim.  They said that the price was only under that amount if many of the ingredients were already purchased .

Cindy2paw and Lynne at Yarnivorous were complaining yesterday that Woolworths no longer took debit cards.  I was surprised as I have had no problem at all.  I don't have a credit card but only a debit card.  The photo clearly shows the use of a Mastercard debit card with no extra fee charged, just the purchase amount.  My bank statement has no extra fees charged either.This was for things I bought yesterday.  Now I'm in NSW and they are in two different other states.  Perhaps it does not happen here.

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

me day

I did take some time for me today.  Witty Knitter suggested it may well need more than one day.  I know that and can see more time for myself ahead, but today was just the first after all the mess is over.  That's one good thing about an auction.  Settlement is basically guaranteed as finance needs arranging pre-auction.  Yes, things could still go wrong but it's certainly not the usual thing to happen.

I did some minor retail therapy for me today.  I really did need more coffee.  My son usually buys where he works from a man who has his own shop and roasts his own coffee at another location.  It's superb. Unfortunately the complex where he roasts beans has been shut down for redevelopment and he hasn't found another location.  He bought beans in and they were terrible.  Thin and watery flavour with no crema. So I went to where I had bought good stuff before locally.

While there I did some shopping.  I found a glass pendant, about 4-5 cm long in a tear drop or leaf shape.  It's quite thick, went well with what I was wearing.  Different shades of green with a  couple of colourful accents.  So I bought it. It cost a king's ransom.  Not quite.  It cost me just $5. Photos tomorrow if it's sunny.

I also bought some headphones for listening to the iPhone while reading in bed.  As I already wear hearing aids, I bought the ones which fit over the ear.  They also fit over the aids.  I did buy some of the bud style earlier but they were too uncomfortable after wearing hearing aids which are custom fitted to a mould of the individual ear.

I came home and did some more of the Moda Noir sock wool shawl.  Very basic pattern.  When I feel like it at quite random intervals I do a row of yarnover, knit 2 together.

When I started the shawl I was quite stressed and could not concentrate on following a lace pattern.  Now much of that stress has gone, I'm finding it boring.  Only another 30 gm of yarn to knit and that will go quickly with increases every second row.

And Jill who commented on a bed available.  Your area is definitely on the visit list.  Just not sure when.

Monday, 25 October 2010

back to earth with a bang

I wasn't nervous at the auction last Saturday.  I was icy cool.  I'd been nervous the week before, but on the day, nothing or very well hidden subconsciously.

True, I'd had a moment's panic on the Friday at the possibility of it not selling, but that thought was so ridiculous I was able to squash it.  It would sell,  but for how much?

When I was doing prac teaching as a student I was much the same.  Comments were always made about no nerves.  They were there, but I could conceal them.

Well, the facade fell apart.  I slept very little that night, wasn't thinking about it, just couldn't sleep.  I  think I had about two hours sleep.  Yesterday I was a bit of a wreck because of no sleep.  Today, there's been a letdown and things have caught up.  I've done quite a bit but have felt exhausted.  I've been surprised at the memories dredged up by the sale of the house.  I was over him a very long time ago really and should have made my move probably five years before I did.  I don't think he'll cope well with the move while I have moved twice in three years.  Seeing the house as he had it was a huge disappointment but since the sale I've been seeing the boys as babies there, remembering the good times.   There were good times.  Even my sons acknowledge their childhood and early teens was good and then things went wrong.  I really think there are at least two major mental problems, but he'll never  acknowledge that.  Memories of happy camping holidays, visitors, family dinners have all come rushing back.

I think that tomorrow will be a "me" day.  A much needed day. Not sure what I'll do, it depends a lot on the weather.  If it's good, I may go for a ferry ride.  Something different.  Pack my fairly neglected shawl knitting and get out of the house here.

I was thankful for the weather on the day.  It was a beautiful morning on the day of the auction, sunny and mild.  Then we had a deluge of a thunderstorm out of nowhere just a few hours later.  I'm glad that held off.  I've been thinking a lot about the future but I'll try to give that a break. It will be twelve weeks before settlement an d while I need to consider plans, the particulars of any real estate I look at now, will probably be quite different in that time.  If any pace I like is still on the market after Christmas, I may be able to get it for less.  January is typically a dead season here for both new jobs and selling houses.

So some TLC by me, for me seems to be in order.

Sunday, 24 October 2010

finished object at last

At long last, a finished object.  One pair of plain vanilla socks in Yummy yarn from Granny Square in King Street, Newtown, which had an official opening night earlier in the week.  I had probably enough left over to have made each leg about three centimetres longer.  It's pleasant yarn to knit and feels as if the sock should be both warm and comfortable, but I don't like the dyeing pattern which verges on pooling. I've been very slow, haven't even looked these up for a start date but it was a while ago.

They must have been a good sign.  The house was sold at well over a million dollars, although I think another hundred thousand would have been nice.  However, it's gone at a good price.  It was fine and sunny, there were lots of bidders, the auctioneer was very capable.  Best of all, it's another finished object and a real weight off my mind.  Perhaps this may be reflected in my knitting.  I've been unable to settle to anything much for quite a while now.  The only displeasing note to me is that it will be a twelve week settlement  before I get any money out of this.  But I'd rather that than no sale.

Mum's house is up for sale too, so there will be more money from that when it goes.

Things are looking up.

Saturday, 23 October 2010


Lots of butterflies this morning.  The auction is at 11:30 am.

After consultation with my son, we've set a realistic reserve price to get bidding going.  There are now over a dozen contracts issued and half of them have been changed  to suit particular bidder's needs.  So hopefully, even if they don't all bid or some drop out, there will be enough bidders left prepared to justify their extra legal expenses to ensure lively bidding.  We have also set  a more than reasonable vendors' bid, although hopefully that will be passed quickly.  I just can't tell.  Agent is still not optimistic of as high a price as it could have been with better preparation on my ex-husband's part.

All my sons are coming as support, and win or lose, we'll have either a celebration or a wake afterwards. Actually, whatever it is, win or lose, it is really all win and celebration for me, although tinged with sadness at what could have been and should have been.  However, life can't be lived by saying, "What if..."  Enough philosophising.

I've accepted that que sera, sera,  and have adopted a wait and see attitude.  I will have money, probably enough, and will have more when Mum's house is sold.  I didn't want to have to use that to help buy something, but Sydney real estate is exorbitant and I may have to use some and invest the rest.  Solicitor's fees, agent's commission, conveyancing costs and stamp duty of any future property have to come out of money.

So, now for some coffee.

Friday, 22 October 2010

yummy socks

Anyone who's been following my knitting knows that not much has been happening lately.  I started these socks quite a while ago and have done nothing on them for ages.  The yarn is Yummy Yarn, 115 gm, from Granny Square on King Street, Newtown, Morris and Son's newish store here, just a walk away for me. The colour is more aqua and less turquoise than shows here.  The fabric feel great, the yarn is pleasant to work with but I'm not  enamoured of the way they have been dyed.  I am not a fan of pooling and to me, these border on pooling.

As my personal journey draws to a close of this current stage with the auction tomorrow, I suddenly felt the urge to have a finished object to match!  I dug these out this morning and finished the second leg and turned the heel.  Really, there's not that much more to do to them.

They've been a good thing to do today.  I don't feel nervous in the same was as a few days ago where i had a lump of lead in my stomach and couldn't get warm, but currently there are lots  of butterflies flying around there.

I've been sitting just plodding away on these.  Stitch after stitch, row after row.  It's  been quite calming.