Monday, 29 March 2010

we wuz robbed

That was what the man staying here for a while said of a game from his team at the weekend.

Unfortunately, we were robbed.  On Friday evening while my son and I were in the house, someone slit the gauze screen and opened the door from the inside.   The boarder  later told us that he'd come home and found the door open, so had shut it.  Next morning all was open again.  That must mean that the thief was in here when he came home.  Very nasty.  It appears cash was the target.  An iPod and an iPhone were in full view but not touched.

My handbag was taken.  It had about $130-150 in my wallet, all useful cards, some customer loyalty cards and my keys with an almost new lovely key ring I bought in Canberra a few weeks ago.  Fortunately I had checked bank balance on Friday so could tell nothing had gone when I rang to cancel card early on Saturday.  I've ordered replacement medicare and centrelink cards.  Can't think of anything else desperate in my bag, which was fairly new, an expensive present  from one son. Wallet was also expensive and I'm fussy about such things.  I like a certain style and it often takes me several weeks to find what I want.

Boarder lost wallet.  Son had a bowl with lots of one and two dollar coins in it, probably several hundred dollars.  There was also his custom designed and made platinum wedding ring and several other silver rings bought by DIL for him.  She was away for weekend so lost  nothing.  Sons keys, for house, car, work, church all went.  None of the keys, his or mine, had any identification apart from the obvious one being a car key.  All Saturday night, I was worried they would come back for the car.

He rang locksmith who changed all the locks here only a few weeks ago.  He had a busy day and didn't get here till nearly 6:00 pm.  Job cost almost twice as much as before.  Saturday work.  Son hasn't claimed on insurance.  There would be an excess around the same amount as the locksmith bill.  He has five or six properties all insured by the same firm and said premiums on all would rise if he made a claim.  Stinky system!

I think the event took its toll last night and I didn't fall asleep till 4:00 am this morning and was awake again at 7.  My brain is fuzzy.  I've been doing a shawl with some of the Bendigo Melody which is beautiful to use.  Stitch definition is good.  However, I won't do anything lacy today.  I think that's asking for trouble.

On a brighter note here is more from the puppies next door.  They were by themselves in the yard all day so made most of it.  More holes in the garden were dug.  They finished the demolition of the drip watering system and pulled up the plastic pipes.  The mess here came from a large rag doll which they murdered.  There was more stuffing spread around the yard, I've cropped the photo.  One of the holes they dug can just  be seen at right hand edge of photo.  See their deflated toy as well?  More damage by sharp puppy teeth.  They are bored and were left by themselves most of this weekend as well as while their owners were at work.

Saturday, 27 March 2010

meet the press, no, meet the neighbours

Wow!  a week without a post.  I have been busy and out for most of the day on four days.  Business sure cuts into knitting time.

This rather strange looking sock is a bedsock for a grandson.  It's alpaca, actually much more blue/grey than this shows.  I felted it somewhat by hand to give it a bit of body and there are actually two of these finished. 8 ply alpaca from bendigo which is great for small things like scarves, socks, hats but which does not keep its shape well in bigger garments.

Andrew loves bedsocks, all the grandchildren do.  I'm not sure where that liking comes from.  Perhaps one night every winter, I put socks on to keep feet warm in bed.  They stay on an hour if they are lucky, before I take them off, usually without stirring much in my sleep.

So meet the neighbours.  The town house next door is rented by a young couple.  The place is a service flat, rented by Defence Forces.  Just as well too.  Who else could afford the rent of $1000 /week?  Places that are rented here are usually sublet because there are three bedrooms, three bathrooms and a fourth toilet in each place.  This young couple has moved down from NT and seem to have everything new which opens and shuts.

A few days after they moved in, little Sascha, the Jack Russell terrier came to stay.  She's now just on five months.  She's very intelligent and very active.  She was bored and started demolishing the backyard and the garden.  So before we knew what had happened, Baxter the Boxer had joined her in the yard.  He's nine weeks old, that's all.   He's much bigger than she is already, just look at the size of those feet.  He is going to be big.  He looks very fierce here but it's all an act.  He's a softie.

I don't know if it's because he's much younger, or if he is not as intelligent as Sascha, but he's a sook.  He runs under the BBQ cover to take refuge from anything new.  He might look fierce here, but he cries like a baby.  Sascha jumps on him and he never sees it coming.  She regularly upends him into their big water bowl.  She tries to pull him around the yard by an ear or by his tail.  He cries pitifully at this.  She can't manage it, because just look at the size difference.  I really hope they are watching physical development carefully, because Sacha is older than he is.

So what do the two do all day?  they chew the drip irrigation drippers, they have uprooted three shrubs.  They demolished a plaster garden gnome.  The hibiscus shrub is too big to be uprooted, it's been trimmed by sharp little teeth as far up as they can reach.  The BBQ cover has a nasty rip in it although it's new.  Toys are shredded regularly.  Today two big holes have been dug in the garden and mess has been shot al over the lawn.

The photo was taken from my bedroom with some use of zoom.

In other news, I ordered some of the Melody from Bendigo, cashmere, merino and microfibre.  It came today.  Five balls of navy and six of forest green.  100 metres in each 50 gm ball which costs $4.  I have lots of shawls waiting my attention.  This stuff is lovely.  Decisions, decisions.

Saturday, 20 March 2010

saturday camera show and tell

I had the camera out for something else when I spied these bronze cast  pieces.  Not terribly valuable, but gifts so I value them.  The lizard in the gumnut used to rest in a potplant.  Not much around here like that now where I can easily see them, so I've brought it inside.

The frog spent years in my goldfish pond sitting  on an exposed rock.  My husband never liked it so i made sure to collect it.  It's quite heavy.  We had real live frogs in the pond occasionally.  Apparently in suburbia, frogs can travel quite long distances when they sense a pond around.

The small posy vase I've had for ages and was also a gift.  I think it's seaweed which has been pressed into the wet clay when it was made.

The little table is not really me.  It's made of cheap pine with the punched top and was another gift.  Nothing  wrong with it, just not my style.  In fact, I thought it had been donated  elsewhere when we moved.  It's come in useful now.  It sits in the airlock part of my room between the two sets of doors.  If the donor ever gets to the room, it will be readily seen.  Not that that is the reason, I would happily have given it away.

Thursday, 18 March 2010

bedsocks for Miss Seven

Some of Ailsa's superwash sock wool, done as bed socks for Miss Seven.  That's her in right sidebar when she was Miss Four.  A quick easy knit.  Pinkish, but not in your face pink.  Hopefully the colour will be acceptable.  She's beginning to move away from the "any colour, so long as it's pink, grandma" stage.  Apparently she loves wearing the socks I knit as bedsocks.  She's very skinny so probably feels the cold.

When I was last there, she carefully drew around a foot and gave the paper to me, saying her foot had grown since the last pair.  Hint, hint, Grandma.  I took the hint.

Wednesday, 17 March 2010

in memoriam my mum

Traditions are often good things to have.  My sons were always pleased to be allowed to choose their birthday dinner, even if guests  were once surprised when one chose savoury mince as his birthday meal.  Holiday traditions from my own childhood are still remembered fondly and often followed and my sons continue them with their families.

Since leaving my husband, I've started a couple of things on dates which are significant to me now.  They not only are a date marker, but they help me to deal with the memories from that date.

Today is the first anniversary of my mum's death last year.  Next month we are all having a family picnic at Pearl Beach to mark her April birthday, but I was wondering what to do about this particular anniversary.  She loved the supersoft, super light scarves I made her, often from good mohair.  They were light and warm.

I've decided to knit something to give away, probably a good scarf each year.  I found this Ink Spot scarf pattern, done in two halves and grafted in the middle.  I took the hank of 50/50 silk and cashmere (second photo down), which I won last year in the Cancer Council Relay for Life appeal, done by WA knitters.  I've wound off about 400 yards out of 1300 yards in the hank and am about halfway through the first half.  No photos yet, the lace is all squashed and will need blocking.

I have friends who live in the Southern Highlands and they tell me that, contrary to what lots think, there are many elderly people who are poorly off down there.  I think I may pass on the finished article and ask them to give it to someone who needs it.  I think that would be in keeping with the spirit of my making it.  It can be very cold down there and it would be good to think it helps keep someone warm, as my other scarves kept Mum warm.

Saturday, 13 March 2010

saturday camera show and tell

This is a photo of a photo, a fairly old photo.  It was taken a l-o-o-o-ng time ago on the beach at Bundeena in Sydney.

No matter where I put the photo to take another shot, there were reflections which make the image fuzzy.

The little girl in the middle is me, probably just turned three.  The girls on either side are unknown.  they were playing on the beach with me.  The one on the right has plaits and what seems to be a woollen swimming costume.  The little girl on the left has an apparently knitted beret.  I have a floppy hat which is firmly tied in a bow under my chin.

I'm often asked if I'm from England.  I don't think my accent is English at all, even when I listen to tapes of talks I have given.  However, I've been asked many times.  I have no idea where the girls came from, but as I said, I'm probably not long three years old here.  One of the girls told my parents, "Don't she speak just  luverly!"  Shades of Eliza Dolittle!

My mother was sunsmart long before it was fashionable to be sunsmart.  Her mum, my grandmother, hated tanned skin and would promise me extra pocket money when we went on our beach holiday if I stayed lily white.  I have a big floppy hat and a long sleeved top on here.  We spent all our holidays at Pearl Beach out of Sydney for very many years.  Mum went through many bottles of lotion to prevent us being sunburnt and we had zinc cream on our noses and lips.  The very worst humiliation in our minds was that in the afternoon when the sun was at its hottest, we had to wear the shirts from the previous winter's school uniform over the top of our swimming costumes.  I hated them.  They felt terrible when wet and were flippy flappy against our skin.  Still, we didn't get burnt.

Friday, 12 March 2010

ishbel beret

A finished object on top of my bed and it's been so nice to have another cover as well as the sheet the last two nights.  This is the second Ishbel beret from Ysolda Teague that I've made.  It didn't take long, flew off the needles.  I think this one will go to a small granddaughter.

It's made from fingering weight pure alpaca from Katie at wired for Fibre.  I love Katie's yarns, they are lovely and the service is great too.  It's good to have her back selling again.

This was featherlight and soft to knit with.  The skein had 310 m for 100 gm.  I weighed the remainder when I had finished and found I had used about 100 m or 33 gm.  The band is a hem, done on 3 mm needles and the lace was done with a 4mm Knitpicks Harmony  circular.  The size was the smallest given, 18" in the pattern.  The band is fairly small in real life and I hope it will fit the youngest granddaughter.  I'm doing socks for her bigger sister from Ailsa's new muted pink sockwool, so thought something different would be good.

The pink of the light pink throw on my bed has given the wrong tone to the beret.  The lower picture is much more true to life.  I quite like the undyed tones, but will see if she wants a colour.  I think it will suit her as it is, but this little miss has definite ideas about her clothes, so we'll see.

It's not blocked here, not even wet.  I spent some time this morning after I finished it, looking through the kitchen cupboards for something to block it on.  All the plates and bowls were too big or too small or the wrong size ...  the band is about the same size as one of our smaller bread and butter plates but too small for the lace, but the next size up will stretch the band if I use it for the actual beret.

I still have almost 170 gm of this alpaca left.  It's beautiful to use and very soft and snuggly.  I'll think hard for possible patterns.


Monday, 8 March 2010

that magnificent bear in his flying machine, sorry hat

Here's Wesley in his new aviator hat from Just Jussi.  It's still wet so as his head is bigger than a newborn's, the hat stayed there just  long enough for a photoshoot.  I didn't want it stretched.  It was  a very quick and easy pattern.  If you have friends having babies, it would be a good addition to the present box.

Justine has updated this pattern which is free.  There are numbers for three different yarn weights and seven different sizes.  Enough choice for pretty well anybody.  The curve is made by a 12 row pattern of short rows and corner piece is filled in later.

This is from some stash Bendigo 5 ply and will be given to a tiny newborn at the church I've stated attending not long ago.

Not a good shot.  I managed to catch the fleece throw as I took the photo and it's buckled.  Brandywine blocking.  This too was quite a quick knit as the pattern does not encroach on the garter stitch centre.  Of course that did not stop me making mistakes.  I accidentally did not catch the middle stitch of Knit 3 together and did not discover the dropped stitch for some time.  It was exceedingly difficult to remedy in a reasonable manner.  I looked very carefully at stitches after that whenever I had to do the same again.

This wool was a blog prize from Marguerite at Stitches of Violet in USA.  It's sock wool from Slackford Studio.  It's superwash wool and nylon.  It was very tightly plied.  When I wound it, it looked almost like some English cotton I have.  To me, it's an unusual green, not a shade we see much of out here, unless a paddock has fresh growth from having superphosphate spread.

I took it to SSK at Newtown a couple of Saturdays ago, the first time I've been there.  There were favourable comments on colour and yarn.   As it's tightly plied and spun, the stitch definition was clear.

The shaping at the end of the shawl is eight rows with short rows in them.  Very quick and interesting.  If you are looking for a quickish shawl kit which would look good in thicker yarn too, then Brandywine is available from Ravelry for US$6.50.  $5 of that goes to Doctors without Borders.

This post is brought by my new Mac Mini.  That's it in the photo with lots of USB slots in the back.  Five there, more in the monitor and two on  my old keyboard.  I also have a USB hub if I ever need more, although I doubt it.  Computer is  6" square and 2" deep.  The computer is sitting in the curve of the stand for monitor.

One of the beauties of a Mac is the ease of setting up new stuff.  About a minute's typing to add settings, connect new and old computer and all my programs, data, settings were transferred in under five minutes.  Add in ease of use, sheer common sense arrangement of utilities and resistance to viruses and I'd never revert to a PC.

The monitor is a 20", not the biggest but much bigger than my eMac.  I really would not want it any bigger.  I watch almost no TV and hate glare so I'm not a fan of big screens.  That said, this shows a lot more detail than my old screen.  I know the hard drive was on the way out, but I find that even on sites I visit regularly, I now see the details much more clearly.  That's not because of the size, I think the old screen was also on the way out.  And it's QUIET!  Very, very quiet.  Fan is almost inaudible.  I'm very happy with it.

Saturday, 6 March 2010

saturday camera show and tell

I tried last week to take a photo of this warrior.  However the light was very strong and the camera did not cope too well, obliterating his lower half.

Son and DIL bought him many years ago on a trip to the Hunter Valley.  He's made from old tractor parts and bits of farm implements and other metal pieces found on a farm.

His head is an inverted old copper bowl which is why it's not black.  All the other parts are iron and need fairly regular treatment for rust.  DIL painted this with special paint a couple of weeks ago.

There are horse shoes, parts of a plough, brake drums from an old car, tines from a cultivator and more.

He's very heavy and stands attached to a big old metal wheel  from a truck.  That's on a lump of concrete.  They intend to use some cement and dig a hole to hold him securely.

He spent a lot of time at Killara on his nose on the ground.  The statue is top heavy and the winds there blew it over several times.  We thought things would be different here with the wall sheltering us from winds from the south, but there was such an eddy of wind one day this side of the railway wall that he blew over again.  He's been secured now as constant falls have not been good for his welded joints, just as the humidity has played havoc with the joints in my hands and feet lately.

He's certainly a talking point for guests who haven't seen him before.

Thursday, 4 March 2010

sock wool again

The Raspberry Ripple oops, Heirloom Jigsaw pink sock wool was very hard on the eyes for me to knit.  Very definite stripes indeed and very, very pink.  Now one granddaughter seems to have grown out of the pink stage, the next is moving past it and the third still likes pink.

However the  middle one asked for more socks when I was last out there.  She likes the little tennis sock style and when the weather was cooler last week, wore a pair of commercial socks to bed.  It really was nowhere near cold enough to do this, but her dad says she likes bedsocks so I decided to make another pair.

Thankfully most of the Heirloom wool is now finished.  I didn't mind the feel of the wool, but boy oh boy, those stripes were bright.  When I saw these two lovely colours at Knitabulous' shop, I quickly bought one of each colour.  The wool is called Softsock and is superwash although as Ailsa points out, handwash is better.  The pink is lovely muted soft tones and I'm looking forward to knitting it.  The blue would suit anyone.  It's lovely too.

I was in Summer Hill, a Sydney suburb, this morning to have coffee with a friend from the far North Coast of NSW.  After coffee, I was walking back towards the station when I saw a sign saying something about lifting women from poverty.

I went over.  The shop is a Fair Trade place, selling somewhat similar articles as Oxfam does.  Lots and lots of handcrafts.  Some truly beautiful stuff there.  As I've been perusing my book of Little Andean Knits, I was thrilled to find this small Peruvian woman.  Look, she even has a spindle and some roving.  I bought her on the spot.  She's handmade, her vest is knitted and look at those colours  which are fairly true to life.

She stands 11 cm high, not big at all, and cost me $10 with the money going to a good cause.  I really would have love the big black cape with the alpaca collar but that was $210 and I've just bought a new computer. Still, every little helps.  They also had lots of tiny llama finger puppets and other toys.  Some really good looking jewellery which called  my name too for a small price.  However, the assistant doubted if the findings on the jewellery were silver, and I wasn't going to risk sore ears, so I left them there.

She even has authentic thick black plaits tied together at the back.  The skirt is stuffed and she could probably be a pincushion, although perhaps the stuffing is just to hold out her skirts.  The book mentioned above has photos of women almost identical to this little doll.  It also shows young boys knitting with the yarn feeding from around their neck and pictures of elderly men knitting.  How would you feel knitting with bicycle spokes instead of fancy Addis or Knitpicks with their flexible cables?  Apparently many needles were once spokes from a discarded wheel.

Wednesday, 3 March 2010

long lacy summer wrap up

I thought I had not done much and that the move had really slowed things down.   Just as well I had kept a record in my super-useful Moleskine knitting book or journal.  It has all sorts of things in it - ideas, records, finished objects, stash bought and hopefully used, even books I've bought.

So here's a wrap-up of what I've done.

I'm counting the Brandywine shawl.  It wasn't finished when summer ended officially, but it was definitely started in summer.

My lacy kerchief scarf was another lacy summer knit.  It's been gifted and hopefully will be a warm addition to the winter wardrobe of a woman in Canberra.

Two Shetland lace stoles were done and can be seen here and here.  Middle DIL was thrilled with hers for Christmas.

A heart to heart scarf, also by Evelyn Clark was given away.  I still have a leafy foliage scarf packed away in the gifts basket.

Last week I finished the Ivy Vines Cowl and this will be a birthday present for the same  DIL who received the Shetland lace triangle.

Last thing to mention for the summer of lace was Ailsa's Bollywood capelet which I enjoyed knitting very much once I recovered from a nasty cold which half killed my brain for a few days.

So, all up, not too bad an effort.  Certainly more than I expected had been done.  Hurray for keeping records, something I'm usually not too fussy about.

I also signed up for another Southern Summer of Socks.  Well, something had to give, either lace or socks.  The first summer I did this, I knitted fourteen pairs, more actually because children's socks were counted as half an adult one.  This year I have managed two pairs.  One for the daughter of the person in Canberra and the other pair from Ailsa's lovely Indian summer green sock wool,

However, I'm surprised I got that far with the disruptions we've had here.  More done overall than it seemed.  I do have two lacy scarves on the go at the moment but really can't count them.  Neither is finished and I pick them up occasionally.

As well as what's been detailed above, I did two knitted cotton tops for two of my granddaughters, so more knitting than I even remembered at first.