Friday, 29 January 2010

admin note

Just a quick admin note.  I've reluctantly turned comment verification on.  I've resisted for quite a while but have had increasing amounts  of spam comments lately.  Fortunately not p0rn, but still rubbish.

Sorry, but that's life these days.

My nasty cold seems to be on the way out, thank goodness.  I've gone back to my Shantaram sock from Ailsa as it has only one lot of patterning in it over a few stitches.  Hopefully there will be  a finished pair soon.

Wednesday, 27 January 2010

naughty corner

I've been plugging away on my Bollywood capelet, pattern and yarn from Ailsa at Knitabulous.  A bit every day but not too much as my fingers are quite swollenand don't like bending.  The yarn is absolutely beautiful to work with and the fabric is very even with a lovely drape.

However, Bollywood is now sitting in the naughty corner, or perhaps I should just say it's taking time out.  Sometime last week, son came home from work with a very sore throat which he seemed to overcome reasonably quickly.  A few days ago, I had the same thing.  A killer of a sore throat, bad head etc. I felt terrible and really didn't know what was wrong.  I slept the best part of two days and then discovered the whole thing had morphed into a summer cold.

I'm now on the patterning on the cape.  Four rows only, very easy.  The first pattern repeat went like a dream.  Then the cold struck and my brain went off elsewhere.  I'ts a pattern where the YOs and the decreases vary along the stitches, but each repeat is symmetrical.  My brain went on counting and counting, so sometimes I did 1.5 repeats before starting the next 20 stitches.  Of course, this threw my count at the end of the row right off.  I was too spaced out to notice I wasn't doing decreases in right place.  So I tinked back, again and again over the next few rows.

Of course, there's nothing wrong with the pattern.  It's just my stuffed up head causing problems.  However, it's taking time out till this cold goes.

Friday, 22 January 2010

hot, hot, hot

It's very hot here today but not as hot as Canberra was last week.  However, my room has been shut down till just a few minutes ago.  The room is at the back of the house, facing southwest and overlooks our pocket handkerchief sized back yard.  I don't have a window, I have a double door.  Actually, two double doors. On the outside is a security screen and a sliding door, both key lockable, although this is the middle floor of three and the wall is perpendicular with no obvious places to climb.  I keep the screen door locked and lock the other if I close it.  Then there is a space which for want of a better word, we are calling an airlock.  It's not huge but is big enough to stand in and move in.  Then from that, there is another sliding door directly into my room.  Today I've had both doors shut and the blinds let down.  It's very effective against the heat and I think should also work well in winter.  The dining room, on the floor below my room has the same system, as does the door to third floor terrace.  The front door and the front room on this level work the same way but have a much larger space.  Downstairs is still full of boxes of books.  I think both these areas will have big shelves in as DIL and I both have lots and lots of books.

We've been painting and everything has now been done bar the garage which is huge and underground.  It's about 12 metres long.  The place looked fine but it now looks better.  I left  a lot of unpacking till the painting had been done. These shelves were not what I would have chosen but the price was right.  They are very sturdy and fit the alcove as well as possible, short of custom made tracking and shelving.  They were discarded on the footpath by a tenant leaving two doors down.  I need to sort some more wool etc for the space still left.  I also scored a more than presentable bedside table.  Others I liked started at about $150.

Here's a photo of my desk.  Have a look quickly, it's still tidy.  I bought this on eBay from a volume seller.  Harvey Norman sells them for almost $250 and I paid $120 and put it together myself.  It's open and airy and suits the room.  My eMAc is aging and I'll probably replace it with a Mac notebook sometime this year.  Son gave it to me over 5 years ago and I'm now a convert to Macs, despite almost 30 years of using a PC.  It's been amazing, not one problem with it.  Our network runs on an ethernet system which uses the power wires through the house.  We're all wireless enabled but this house is very solidly built with lots of concrete and wireless, even upstairs looking out onto the city is a bit dodgy.  Each computer plugs a small box into the power point and son's server upstairs has the main connection to mine and probably five others.

Knitting??  Well yes, I have been doing some each day.  Here's the proof.  There are several WIPs on the top shelf of this stand. There's a longstanding scarf which is done every so often when I want something mindless.  I should finish it, there's not much yarn left.  There's a grey variation on Commelina and the pattern dictionary I'm using for it.  It's in Zarina.

Ailsa's Indian Summer Yarn club has two WIPs for it.  I'm on the second Shantaram sock and really like the way this is knitting up.  There's also the absolutely gorgeous 50/50 merino and silk in deep purple.  I'm almost finished the garter stitch part of her capelet pattern and have about ten rows before the patterning.  This yarn is amazing.  It has a beautiful sheen to it and has taken the different purples in the dye really well.  It's a pleasure to knit.  It feels fantastic as it moves through the fingers and knits very evenly.  I can see more of this in the future.

The mirrors at left of photo are my wardrobe doors.  I'd rather not have a mirrored wardrobe but that's what  is here.  I've never had doors on a wardrobe which operate so smoothly.  It doesn't matter which one is in front and they slide very smoothly.  The door at right leads into my bathroom.  Three bedrooms here and three bathrooms as well as a fourth toilet in garage.

Just because I love sky photos, here's one.  From the third floor terrace outside we look over the city.  I feel I could almost touch Centrepoint Tower, then we scan around and see the antennae towers at Artarmon with Chatswood behind them.  We're not far from the harbour as the crow flies and get a beautiful breeze most days. Wentworth Park racecourse grandstand is obvious as well as lots of older buildings and warehouses.  I can't quite see Witty Knitter's area from here as it's over the crest of a hill.  However the spire from the Hunter Baillie Presbyterian church in Johnson Street, Annandale, is quite clear.  We had a very good view of  much of the New Year's Eve fireworks, although we were all so tired we went to bed after the 9:00 show.

Now we're more unpacked and are very happy here, I hope to get more knitting done.  Arthritis in fingers has been bad and I have felt bad myself about knitting when the others have been so busy unpacking painting etc.  I've been busy providing cold drinks, getting meals, stacking and unsatcking dishwasher and other mundane matters.

The location is very convenient.  Ten minutes walk up the road on one side of the trainline leads to the Enmore Theatre on Enmore Road.  The same time on this side of the line brings me up at Newtown old Town Hall or I could cut around the back and come up to the police station and the pub there.  Another couple of minutes and I'd be at the Dendy movie theatre.  It's about six minutes to Stanmore station and a couple of coffee shops I haven't yet tried and about twelve minutes down to Parramatta Road or to Stanmore Maccas if I was absolutely and utterly desperate.

Thursday, 14 January 2010

laziness or something

I seem to be in some knitting slump as can happen to any of us.  I haven't touched my Shantaram sock in a week and today I did one pattern repeat of 16 rows on a scarf I'm doing.  Other than that - nothing for a week.  We have been busy painting here and my room will be done this weekend.  I think I'm in a slow spot after moving, Christmas and more.

I did however spend several days in Canberra.  Beautiful but exceedingly hot.  A friend and I had been discussing seeing the post-Impressionist Exhibition at the National Gallery.  We had asked a married couple, friends of his, to go with us.  Suddenly she discovered that it was this week or not at all for them as teachers at her school started the new year next week.

Friend and I left early Monday morning and met them down there.  We spent most of the day in the National Museum.  We were all interested in various exhibitions and it was air-conditioned inside.  Fortunately our motel rooms also had air-conditioning so we returned there after Museum closed for biscuits and fruit.  Both Monday and Tuesday nights we did not venture out for dinner till after 8:00 pm and when we returned at around 10:00 pm, it was still almost 40°.

Tuesday saw us having brunch at the members' lounge at the gallery with a friend and her husband from another forum I frequent.  I've corresponded with her for a while and knew we would fit well together.  What was good was just how well all six of us fitted together.  Her husband has a major public service job at the top of the rung, but was off on holidays.  We all had different areas to talk about but it was a really good time.  My friend is a fibre fanatic as she puts it, but does not knit.

The Exhibition?  Absolutely marvellous.  Go if you can.  Nothing beats seeing the original of great works of art.  Prints have absolutely nothing  on the original.  The originals have life and vigour not apparent even in the best art books reproductions.

It was crowded but people were fine about moving and not hogging the best viewpoints.  I saw a girl about seven who had the earphone commentary on all the time.  She was entranced.  Several very elderly folk with walking frames also stood entranced in front of some paintings.  The seven year old had a sister about four, perhaps five.  She was still asking her mum very intelligent questions about the art at the end of the exhibition.

We stayed there several hours and had an early afternoon tea in the lounge again.  Food there was ever so much better than the museum.  Museum had quite expensive "food court " type of food while the Gallery and the Library next day had innovative food, well presented and served with good coffee, all at more than reasonable prices.  We each went to different exhibitions until closing time.  When we were ushered out, we were hit by a wall of heat.

It was supposed to be cooler on Wednesday but it was just about as hot.  Two of our group had some research to do at the National Library so we went there.  We all joined up and I now have remote access to quite a bit of interesting material on varying topics which interest me. The others went home just before lunch, they had a longer drive than we had.  We spent some time at the War Memorial as my friend needed some material for a project he was doing.  It's inspiring but it makes me sad too.  There is no way I could go right through it in one go.  A couple of hours at a time was plenty.

We came home via friends of my friend in Goulburn.  It was 36° when we left Canberra mid-afternoon.  It had dropped to 16° when we left Goulburn after 5:00.

I did take some knitting but did none.  Time was taken up in discussion and chatting.  We all share similar academic interests and ideas, so it was good to get together.  We are also all much the same age, so had a great time diving into nostalgia in the Museum.

However, I slept in today and still feel tired.  I wouldn't have missed the Exhibition, it's great value and not expensive in itself.  $25 is the dearest ticket.  Tomorrow is another day.  I'm having lunch with more internet friends at Wagamama in Sydney.  Should be good.  Perhaps DIL will get to the PO box.  I see others have the next lot of yarn from Ailsa.  Perhaps this will kickstart my knitting again.

Wednesday, 6 January 2010

back again

Back again after several very busy and often frustrating weeks.

The house move was absolutely horrendous, worse than I had imagined it could be.  After a run of days with temperatures in mid-20s the morning arrived.  It was hot and became hotter through the day till maximum was 40.  Horrible weather for shifting stuff.

This absolutely enormous  truck, probably 7 tonnes,  arrived in our driveway at 7:15 am and was backed in on a slant so a ramp could be laid across from top of driveway wall to truck, thus saving removalists 12 nasty steps.  The manoeuvre meant that quite a bit of it poked out into the busy side street.  The truck was full by noon.  Settlement on the house had been scheduled for 12:30, so truck and men set out about then.

 The truck was full, but that didn't mean everything had been packed.  DIL has lots of odd shaped stuff which took a lot of space.  This is their dining table.  It came from a boardroom in a business and seats sixteen people.  It's a Parker table and yes, there  were the sixteen Parker tub chairs to pack as well.  Full size is not really apparent here.

St Dragonslayer bank kept up their frustrations to the bitter end.  Not content with miscommunication and being a month behind in drawing up papers, they totally failed to show up for settlement, despite everyone else needed being there.  They claimed they knew nothing of the time, but this is impossible.  Such things need agreement among all parties.  So enormous truck and its crew sat in our small suburban street being paid by us for doing nothing for three hours while settlement and handover of keys was rescheduled.

Meanwhile, back at Killara, I was supervising cleaners and carpet cleaner and keeping an eye on the remainder of goods still stacked in the driveway.  The truck arrived back late afternoon with another two workmen, making five in all, to get job finished.  DIL and I handed house keys over to owner's son and set off.  On the way here, we bought beer as an extra reward for the removalists and I was stuck in son's small Citroen  van with two cases of beer on my lap and an African violet balanced on top!  We waved goodbye to the five guys at 9:15 pm after giving them each a case of beer.

We fell exhausted into bed, thank goodness for keeping clean sheets and pillows accessible!  Next morning I wasted  no time in getting the priorities unpacked.  Coffee, grinder, plungers, kettle, coffee machine and chocolate were unpacked.  That said, the Pavoni machine and the old grinder have since been replaced with  new machines which together produce a really superb cup of coffee.

We very much like it here and are probably unpacked more than we ever were at Killara.  The place is being painted, not strictly necessary, but I think son is putting his stamp on the place.  When that's finished, we'll get the large number of bookshelves up and get the books unpacked.   That will give space in the underground garage for DIL to ready a studio for herself.  There's probably well over a hundred boxes of books.  Art work will be hung using a professional hanging system.   We found our third floor balcony gave us a good view of the new year fireworks.  We could see in a straight line  down to the Cockatoo Island launches, could see Darling Harbour well and a couple of other sites too.  We could get only a glow from the bridge.  We were all tired so watched the 9:00 pm show and then went to bed.

More frustration in getting net access followed.  Telstra rents their lines to all other internet providers and a batch file for each of these should be run daily at night to update.  Son turned our phoneline on by ferreting around in their site.  Technician has never shown up, nor has an explanation been offered fopr that.  However, the business which is now privatised, still runs like something from the 1950s.  No update, no update, no update.

Finally, when they were within hours of being under a financial penalty for not doing what should happen automatically, it happened.  Batch file for our provider was not run from 21/12/09 till 05/01/10, the next year.  We missed out on free access for several months by a couple of hours.

Knitting?  Not much.  I have finished Ailsa's first Shantaram sock and am well into the second.  I'm enjoying the pattern, the colour and the wool, although I did make a horrible mistake one night, knitting when I could not sleep.  24 rows later I realised what I had done and ripped it back.  I'm also working on a Commelina scarf.  However, I must have omitted a yarnover a couple of rows back and my stitch count is out.  I'm going to take the time to chart the pattern.  The original isn't charted and I can't seem to find anyone else who has done this.  At least the pattern will be more obvious and I'll hopefully be able to spot mistakes quickly.  I find it hard to believe it wasn't charted in the first place.  I equally find it hard to believe that I am admitting that I now prefer charts to words.  Something about teaching an old dog new tricks.