Wednesday, January 31, 2007

all about the knitting

so now that i have decided to knit again of course everything has to be just right, that is, all the bits and pieces within easy reach. hence the re-establishment of a knitting bag and of course, knitting corner:

in part, i blame this on the lovely georgina, who stayed here the last couple of days while her usual first-half-of-the-week canberra residence is undergoing upheaval, and who is a fierce knitter, having about 6 things on the go at once and a rather enviable stash-in-a-bag. including some lovely jo sharp aran which i had the pleasure of demonstrating knitting on DPNs with. of course george displayed none of the incompetence i did the first time i played with dpns. sigh. anyway, i thought i had better get serious about this knitting thing then.

so i went through the stash basket and rediscovered all this inca.

remember a while ago i had an idea for making a striped inca and loopy blanket? that was knocked on the head when i realised how much i hated knitting with the loopy so bequeathed it all to taph but kept the inca. and i thought well theres no reason i cant just knit a blanket with that, its lovely and soft afterall. i dont have a great pattern yet so i am still looking for one that involves little or no sewing and perhaps some kind of texturing. not sure how much texture you get out of mottled 12ply thats supposed to be knitted on 7mm needles but hey. i was going to make a blanket out of lace squares made with the brown stuff that margie gave me but firstly little squares have to be sewn together and thats too much like hard work and secondly, sorry margie, but the wool is terrible. its very coarse and scratchy, too scratchy even for a blanket, and is too bulky to hold anything but garter stitch with decency. so i can bequeath it onward as well if anyone wants ten balls of strange brown stuff?

i am also thinking about my next project which i want to be a cardigan for myself. i would like to do something in 4 ply to keep it fine, rather than bulky, and ordered new shade cards from my favourite dealer, er supplier, the nundle wool mill,

which included some new 4 ply:

it is beautiful soft wool with lovely colours, and at $4.50 a ball (50grams) a real bargain, but i was hoping for a dark brown. maybe i will go with the hydrangea instead...

on the pattern front, george introduced me to this website, garn studios, its norwegian but has thousands of patterns in english, FREE, to download. if you search through the ladies section for 'cardigan' i am thinking of design number 97-16 but may need help in upsizing it and substituting yarn if i buy the nundle stuff (budgets to be considered and all that).

meanwhile the blue stripey socks continue to grow. i hope they will be big enough...

finally, apologies to some of my readers who i know are not knitters and have probably fallen asleep by now. i know i have not been a good knitting-blogger for a while and have gotten some of you here under false pretences but it wont always be about knitting i promise!

Monday, January 29, 2007

second...sock progress

my second post for today (first post below) regards the purple rain socks which are now finished:

in my knitting journal it says i finished purple rain number one on august 23 last year. only five months to knit the second one.

*hangs head in shame*

so i like how these turned out but next time i knit socks for me im making them a bit longer in the foot. i must be a hobbit or something (that would explain the lack of height).

thats it.

k xx

first...the weekend

two posts today and i am keeping them separate for ease of reading.

first, what we did on the weekend:

1. drove to sydney. hot when we left canberra:

cold just north of goulburn:

very weird.

2. played flyball as part of austraya day celebrations at paramatta park. here are two teams from our club st george.

i think its the dragon flames on the left and the dragon slayers on the right. is that dave running like a girl? hehehehe...... (ps i hate australia day, all that icky nationalism. i know, i know, deport me now).

3. went to taralga to watch the yard dog trials:

here is robert (the australian champion) and chief

georgina and bess

jenny and joy

jenny did very well with joy, this was her first trial and she got 93 out of a possible 100. dont you hate that?! i had thought about maybe having a go with poss but changed my mind very quickly when we got there and i realised i was still wearing my pink crocs (shoes) and a flyball cap. note to self: start shopping at r.m.williams.

it was great to watch everyone go round, i learnt heaps watching this time and am feeling a bit more confident about my scheduled first trial at the bathurst show.

3. went out to dinner for daves birthday

netty and trent

tracey and simon. tracey does a litte dance!

trent, dave and jo. i told trent to 'stick your head in' but this isnt quite what i meant

the sensible end of the table: me, nath and simon.

great food. good fun. i think dave liked his present!

4. drove home on sunday exhausted. trent kept muttering something about throttling some little dog called holly?

sock progress in next post.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

to picot or not to picot?

so now that i have nearly finished the purple rain socks (should be done in car tonight on way to sydney), i am thinking about the ones i want to make AFTER i have done trents blue stripeys. no im not very good at staying in the moment.

i have these two skeins to work with:

and i have a very good pattern that came with my first lot of spider wool all those months ago.

but i am thinking of trying something a bit different and am contemplating some picot edges. i found this pattern on black dog knits, and am wondering which wool would go best. (not sure about the ribbon. its cute - maybe too cute?)

the berry stripey is self striping so am not sure if picot edging would work. but these will be my favourite socks ever when done so i want them to be very special. the wool seems to deserve something more than a double rib beginning!

the red mottled one is close to the sort of wool used in the pattern and is not such precious wool so wont matter so much if i get it wrong.

has anyone ever done picot socks before and are they hard?

meanwhile, we are headed to sydney tonight so we can get up early for the aust day flyball comp at paramatta park. jem has recovered from his tick and is fit to race and we are going to give possum a go and see what happens!

we are staying over fri night and getting up early again on sat to come halfway home with our crazy dog friends to watch the yard dog trials at the taralga rodeo. our instructors will be there and i am working towards entering my first trial with possum at the bathurst show so need to watch as many trials as i can beforehand.

then we head back to sydney sat night for daves birthday dinner and come home exhausted on sunday!

will post lots of doggy pix on monday. have a good weekend.
k xx

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

water, wool, words

this morning i set myself the task of swimming laps for one hour non stop (apart from slight pauses at end changes of course) . yesterday i swam hard and fast and made my muscles burn but was in and out in 30 minutes. today was MUCH harder. it was easier to swim it in a way because it becomes automatic after a while, arm over arm, breath, kick a bit, turn. but now i am a wreck. my hair and skin smell like chlorine even after a shower and my eyes are burning even tho i wear goggles. i am dizzy, keep bumping into walls, have an aching back and cant co-ordinate my fingers properly. how am i going to be able to hang onto tiny DPNs today?!

speaking of which, here is the second purple rain sock

which has come a long way if you compare it to its condition on being retrieved from the WIP basket on sunday. i completely forgot how to turn a heel, so much so that i forgot to slip the first stitch on each heel flap row which made picking up stitches along the instep a little difficult. i also forgot how much i love knitting socks. i cant get over the fact that you make this little triangle thing and then suddenly youre knitting in a completely different direction without having to cut the wool or anything! so now i am addicted to sock knitting again. i am also thinking seriously about what i wanted to knit myself for winter which is a brown cardigan but i cant find a simple, classic, no trizz, semi-flattering big girl pattern that isnt just a hessian sack with arms. i borrowed one from taph but wasnt happy with the test swatch or the wool i had scored for it, so now i will have to think about actually buying some project specific wool. AFTER i find the pattern of course.

on the words front, i have had problems moving on from finished chapter three to chapter four because i couldnt see how they related to each other, or how i could separate the bits i needed in chapter four from what i was planning to write in chapter five. so i had a long chat with a helpful person (subtext: NOT a supervisor) and realised all i needed to do was re-phrase chapter three to incorporate chapter four, and then move on the rest. i wont bore you with the details but suffice to say that chapter three/four are the empirical data chapters and i am not over my ethical dilemma re historical evidence. but im going to write that in, so it should be right now.

i think i can finish that by end of next week.

thats it for now, need coffee.....hmmm, shall it be lavazza or colombian fair trade this morning?!

k xx

Tuesday, January 23, 2007 a record baby....

look what i got!

yes its a wheel! a spinning wheel. and it was FREE courtesy of the spinning fairy taph. (its a rescue wheel). its gorgeous, looks like an ashford traditional.

of course i have NO idea how to use it. apparently it missing some minor parts but i have no idea what they are or even what to ask for! i have no idea how to spin wool at all and i would be a very naughty girl if i took time out to learn now.

so getting it going and learning how to use it are to be delayed until after the first full draft is in and the cooler weather comes. then i think a trip to cooma may be in order, along with a fleece afternoon at my house.

in the meantime i sit and stare at it and think how pretty it is.

you spin me right round baby right round....


Monday, January 22, 2007

taking stock (warning: may contain fibre content)

all events have conspired against me. yesterday we got home from sydney about 3pm, we had been at flyball training and it was 38 degrees when we left sydney. it was 26 when we got home, windy and cool. devine. i sat on the lounge in front of the tennis and attempted a sudoku puzzle. i can now crack the kids one in the saturday herald but the adult remains beyond me. not surprising. but it was too much like brainwork, as was reading 'harry potter and the goblet of fire' for the third time (book seven comes out soon and i am re-reading them all in an attempt to locate the horcruxes and to work out who R.A.B is).

so instead i pulled my little basket towards me and reached in, taking out the nearly finished second lace washcloth square i intended to knit lots of to make into a blanket (this is the brown fibre that margie gave me last year). so i am knitting away, making a complete screw up of the first row back of course, but then getting into the swing of it. then on the local news i saw the story about the merino show that was held in canberra over the weekend and i felt a pang of fleece envy. i knew that my stitchnbitch ladies would be there, and i felt another pang of how few gatherings i have been to lately because of bloody dog things. i saw the wizened hands of a lady i didnt know gently spinning raw fleece into fibre and i thought, ah, perhaps spinning and i are not to be after all. perhaps i am merely a knitter. and a fair weather one at that, as trent pointed out.

but then i got a phone call. it was the spinning fairy, otherwise known as taph, telling me that the wheel she had wanted to give me was now in the same suburb as me and all i had to do was make a phone call, go round the corner, and it would be mine.

is this all a coincidence? i think not.

so then i decided to take stock. these are all the things currently sitting in my works in progress basket.

i have resolved to finish them. it is ridiculous only knitting in winter if only because the things i am knitting then do not get finished in time for me to WEAR them. so it would make sense to have some knitted woollen things ready to wear, and then start knitting some more. i have found the idea of knitting in summer somewhat difficult to contemplate, but i was out for dinner with a fellow sheep-dog trainer, who also spins and knits, recently, and she looked at me like i had two heads when i said i didnt knit in summer.

ok ok i get the hint. i will knit in summer. i will finish the second purple rain sock and continue with trents blue stripey socks and finish those before i ball up the two other skeins of sock wool i have, including the fabulous made to order berry stripey from our favourite spider. in the meantime i will experiment with washcloth lace pattern squares to sew up into the blanket, which i will need to take to herding practice in winter.

i will knit for one hour during lunch break from chapter hell. i will knit for two hours while watching crap tv at night time.

surely little sock needles and 4 ply sock wool cant make you sweat too much?!

a reinvigorated
k :)

Friday, January 19, 2007

for dave...

this is dave
daves an "engineer" (oh sorry, a supervisor) at an aeroplane company, so we cant show you his face, but we can show you what sort of tent and car he uses:

while we were camping with dave, he gave us a really hard time about the condition of the tyres on our subaru forrester all wheel drive. they were a bit worn, but you get that when you live in canberra and race your dogs in a sydney flyball team who insist on practicing every five minutes.

so, dave, just for you, look what we got yesterday:

notice the grooves and things? i think thats called a tread.

oh and did i mention that daves car, a big macho ute type thing, is NOT a four wheel drive?

k :p

Thursday, January 18, 2007

waiting for the storm

i cant get over how insanely hot its been here. i must be feeling it worse this summer because i am at home most of the time - last summer i retired to the national library to work. but this summer i am actually writing not researching so all the stuff i need is here. or should be.

i have discovered in my attempt to re-write chapter four that it requires a whole heap of primary evidence i didnt think was relevant 12 months ago and now, of course is. i am a bit peeved about this. some of it is the natural process of phd writing, you think you know what you're doing but the more you read, the more you write, the more your argument changes, becomes more defined, more specific. but part of it was the interference of supervisors sending me on wild goose chases for 'historical evidence' that i should have known just didnt exist. when i read this chapter now (which i wrote the first time 12 months ago) i cant believe how unsophisticated the argument is, the ridiculous assumptions im making, the naive belief that the 'evidence' actually tells us anything. the more 'history' i do, the less i think history is possible, that history is all really just fiction, an exercise in creative writing, taking disparate and unconnected bits of information and tying them together to create something that looks like a story, a continuous seamless narrative, that is neither truthful nor possible, given the infinite chaos, the arbitrariness (is that a word), the contingency of everyday human life.

and so i am not a good historian anymore, in the traditional sense, and find myself drawn more and more to foucault's idea that history can and must be critical, we must be critical always about what we think we know, and critical when we write.

of course, this is seriously problematic when you're trying to write something about people who didnt leave diaries or letters, so all you've got is chaos, arbitrariness and contingency. sometimes i get overwhelmed with the impossibility of this task ive set myself and wonder how i will ever be able to pull it off.

anyway, so i need to go to the library but i am not entirely free to because the situation with the NFH (neighbour-from-hell) is still a little dicey - i think she has realised she would do well to not upset us considering she is having inspections this weekend and i imagine if you were a nasty sort of person you could make selling the house next door a little difficult (if, that is, you couldnt wait yourself for the sale to happen so the people doing the selling are gonegonegone). so she keeps her mouth shut for a while and keeps her kid a bit quiet (i dont mind kid noise, i just mind being insulted by a 10 year old). but trent comes home last night and shes out the front talking to said 10 year old and explaining to him what bad people we are because we 'cant afford to buy our own house' and how this makes us f***wits (hmmm) and then he comes out the back and starts harrassing the dogs, jumping around making noises trying to get them to bark RIGHT IN FRONT OF ME, while im sitting there waiting for the storm to come. of course i feel like doing and saying all sorts of immature evil nasty things but i think 'hes 10 years old, ignore it, rise above it' but really. its very annoying. so i dont feel comfortable leaving the dogs alone in the back yard right at the moment for long periods of time, esp when its so hot. its supposed to be a bit cooler next week so perhaps i will just go to the library in the mornings or something.

speaking of waiting for the storm, here are some pix i took while i waited for rain that never came. it looked good and got quite cool for a while there.

im glad we're going to sydney again this weekend where it is supposed to be marginally cooler than here, at least.


Tuesday, January 16, 2007

do a little dance...

oh yes its true the house of the neighbour from hell is for sale. heres proof:

the trailer i imagine is to facilitate removal of the skateboard ramp.

im too busy doing a little dance around the house to write more now

happy k :)

Monday, January 15, 2007

counting chickens

its amazing really how ones outlook on life can change in a matter of moments. we had a fun weekend in sydney trying to get possum ready for flyball racing at the australia day comp only to be brought back to earth with the realisation that we were counting our chooks before they hatched. lets just say she still needs some work.

and then all the way home i was dreading coming back, its just so relentlessly hot and the neighbour from hell has been too quiet which has made me sus and i want to go work in the cool library but i cant leave the dogs at home all day by themselves with the current situation.

and then i do the monthly budget and realise with me not working we are set for another few months of abject poverty and you really wonder whether the whole phd thing is worth all that stress....part time jobs at coles start to look attractive.

and so im getting in the car to go get some groceries with my non-existent money only to see a guy in a suit pull up next door and start taking photos of the house belonging to the neighbour from hell. there's all sorts of angle shots of the house and the yard and then he goes inside. hes still inside when i come back from the shops.

i take this to be a very good sign that a certain house is going to get a FOR SALE sign put out the front of it (seeing as how shes a PROPER person who 'owns' (ie, owes-money-to-bank-for) her house, while we are just lowly renters).

all of a sudden the world seemed like a much better place. i dont care if im counting chickens on this one as well. it gives me hope.

k :)

Thursday, January 11, 2007

hot outside

its going to be 38 here today and at 10am its already nudging 26. i have some kind of weird pathological fear of extreme heat. i have put the house in lockdown and am ensconced in my darkened office with cooler on. when i finish my chapter today i just realised that will be one half of the first draft done (not including intro and conclusion as they dont get done till everything else is perfect). im happy with how its panning out but i can see areas that i need more research for, but im not going to do that until the whole draft is done and i know exactly what im looking for.

i just went and did some errrands and found that i am a little bit twitchy and not in a good way - everytime i see a bird flying near the road i flinch. im going to crash into a tree or something if im not careful. bloody kamikaze birds.

and i would like to take this opportunity to direct you to one of my finer efforts in procrastination - the blog of the kamp kitchen koffee klub (the 4ks). trent doesnt like the title because he says you cant spell coffee with a k but you cant spell kitchen with a c, so the ks have it. the 4ks was established on our recent camping trip where we found out some of us are a little weird about our coffee obsession, so i thought it might be fun to document our camping with coffee adventures. i dont think there will be any knitting mentioned on that blog either. sorry!

have a good hot one
k xx

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

doing laps and a hitchcock moment

i have now showered and breakfasted after my trip to the pool this morning, today i did 1km after yesterdays sad effort - only been a few weeks but so easy to lose your momentum. and then theres all that christmas pudding to lug around....but a few more days and i should be getting back up there. i was doing 2kms before holidays. and i have changed my pool routine, as its school hols the plan is get in and out early which means coming home still wet rather than showering there. this saves the hassle of carrying around soap, shampoo, towels, clothes etc. much more sensible.

except i was wrapped in my towel driving home when something terrible happened. i was nearly home when two magpies came flying out a tree having a fight and i swerved to avoid them but they flew straight into the side of the car! i swerved all over the road then pulled over and saw one bird hopping along the road while someone had stopped and picked it up and was getting back in their car. i just came home. i feel bad. should i have gone up to the rescuer and offered to take over the rescue or is it enough to know the bird was rescued? the weird thing is this is the third bird incident this week. on monday two parrots flew low across the road and one of them clipped the car but flew on, seemingly ok. this morning on the way to the pool in nearly the same spot as the parrots, a different bird flew low and nearly hit me. is there some hitchcock thing going on? or is it just all the baby birds learning to fly and they dont know about cars yet? anyway, its horrible and i feel like a nasty car driving earth wrecking human being right now.

on a lighter note, because i dont have kids to post cute pix of, here are the puppies this morning playing with one of the toys we found in the backyard upon return from holidays. im sure it belongs to the girl next door but given the situation, im keeping it. (hmm perhaps the bird attacks are karma for this pettiness?). anyway jem loves it cos it makes dog noises and he wont let possum play with it whereas usually she can take anything off him. very funny.

and no they are not on the bed. why would i have my working dogs lolling around on the human bed? shame on you for even thinking it!


Tuesday, January 09, 2007

101 ways to procrastinate

1. update your blog template
2. post picture of the work you should be doing

only 99 more ways to go...

gratuitous dog pictures

the sick puppy, aka jem, is improving slowly. he can walk almost normal but has trouble with stairs and cant jump up on the bed, which is kind of funny to watch. then he complains when you pick him up. some dogs. sheesh. anyway here he is looking kind of cute this morning:

note green and red austrian airlines blanket.

because jem cant do any vigorous exercise for a while we are planning on putting possum into the flyball team for racing on australia day in sydney. we did some training with her over christmas and she surprised us with her ability to focus in the face of other dogs. the test will be how she copes with other dogs running alongside her which we are planning to train this weekend in sydney. and just because i can heres a picture of her this morning.

repeat after me "she's so pretty". on sunday i took her for a walk around lake ginninderra and i met this guy with a massive big great dane puppy (10 months old and its as tall as me) and she got along really well with it after an initial freak out, and he told me about a group of people who meet every afternoon with their dogs at page oval, so i took there yesterday and she had a great time. and someone, completely unprompted by me, said 'shes very pretty isnt she'. i burst out laughing and said 'well yes we think so and sometimes thats the best thing you can say about her'! she was, however, the fastest ball chasing dog there. (yes yes i know im not supposed to let her chase balls - interferes with flyball training etc etc).

meanwhile i am about to go back to the pool for the first time since before xmas, should be interesting. i did manage to only put on one kilo of christmas cheer and it is coming back off slowly, begrudgingly! but it was worth it. hmmm maggie beer pate...

um anyway, i have also been back at chapter writing work yesterday and have rewritten sections of the chapter i was meant to have done by xmas, i had a brainwave about it while away so it affects the chapters on either side as well. making a bit more work for myself but the fact that im thinking about it and thinking of ways to improve it is a good sign at least.

thats it from me for today.
have a good one
k xx

ps the neighbour from hell has been quiet since we got home, there was a big incident the night we got home and the police came and since then two of her kids havent been there and she has been quiet as a mouse, i think there is some major custody drama going on, so she is on her best behaviour. and the landlord has agreed to just fix the fence and wear the cost so that should help a lot too. fingers crossed it stays that way :)

Saturday, January 06, 2007

sick puppy

quick update on the condition of jem-the-tick-carrying cattle dog. he came home from hospital last night feeling pretty sad and sorry and couldnt walk at all:

he had had the anti-tick serum which can cause an allergic reaction but he had coped with that ok (i think i had a heart attack at the amount of money that one shot can cost) then he slept all night and has had some food and water and moved around a bit more today. this is the second time in a year he has been affected by a tick and its really knocked him around this time, not happy about it. they are really hard to find on him because of his thick coat and white skin so we dont find them until they are well attached. trent has been researching more virulent preventative measures for next time.

meanwhile jo has put up some photos on her flickr from camping and i forgot to mention that we went out for dinner the last night at the rosewood restaurant at riverwood downs and had a lovely dinner. trent decided he didnt like anything on the normal menu and had four desserts. yes thats right. four desserts. highly amusing.

thanks everyone for the kind thoughts re jem, will write replies etc later
k xx

Friday, January 05, 2007

of tents, dogs, storms and ticks

arrived safely home from our fabulous camping holiday which was deficient only in its brevity. isnt it funny how you can spend 10 days doing absolutely nothing and come home exhausted?! i think i will let the pictures do the talking:

this is some scenery from where we were camping, a place called riverwood downs on the karua river at upper monkerai near gloucester. nice.

its was practically empty when we got there, this was the only other tent, but was packed by boxing day. it got a bit noisy at times but was still a vast improvement on the usual beachside haunts. here is adventure boy trent fiddling with his new camp kitchen:

and here are all our campsites in a row, we think we had the best spot right on the river under the trees.

we definitely had the best constructed tents which weathered two major storms with only minor amendments needed to trents tarp at one point.

the rest of the tents appeared to fall down around us while we watched, perhaps a little more amused than we had a right to be.

i think in this picture the inhabitants sought shelter under their collapsed tarp. we think they ate their dinner under there. teehee.

the dogs had a great time, swimming:

riding in utes:


possum liked this spot in the road so much that cars and people were forced to walk around her. who said she was a princess?!

meanwhile the humans did some walking:

gathered some wood:

(here we see annette supervising nathan, this reminds me of a mccubbin painting, oddly!)

looked at pretty scenery:

and ate a great deal. i didnt think it was decent to take pictures of that.

the injury count was relatively low - trent got a black eye when he tried to lift jem over an electric fence at which jem protested. cobber cut his paw pads and earned the name hop-a-long for the week and jem also got a tick but it was dead because we'd frontlined him. except he appears to have brought one home and is now in the hospital being treated for a live tick and subsequent paralysis poisoning. he isnt too far gone so should be ok but thats not even two weeks since he was frontlined. a very large vet bill awaits. and we need to get new tyres on the car. on that, trent has decided we need a bigger car and is thinking along the lines of second hand range rovers. doesnt do anything by halves my trent!

but it was all worth it. i hope everyone else had a lovely break, i have a lot of blog reading to catch up on.

k xx