Friday, March 30, 2007

a turbo boost

earlier this week a little fairy emailed me and said she was buying some pretty shiny things that were on sale and did i want some? i said yes and the little fairy delivered them to my door today. i will let the pictures speak for themselves.

it is entirely possible i will never knit with anything else ever again. george is a very naughty little fairy.
k xx

how life interferes with blogging

hello, despite appearances to the contrary i am still alive. life has got in the way since the fabulous yarn harlot happening which was one of the most fun nights i'd had in a while! who knew sticking your hand in a box and feeling something furry in order to guess its weight, fibre and brand could bring so much pleasure? these are my lucky door prizes:

yes thats right, i won the book made especially for me. how weird is that? this patonyle is perfect for a pair of man-socks for the supervisor who is not a supervisor.

i am already knitting a pattern from this book, which i may have blogged about before (ya think?!), and am making good progress, as you can see.

i am making better progress since i won these boob-rock stitch markers at the happening. beats frayed bits of wool hands down.

meanwhile, life has happened - we were away for four days last weekend at orange where trent judged at a flyball comp, we camped with friends in the freezing cold (thanks for that orange), i went out to my herding instructors place and had some one-on-one time, and have seen some major changes in miss possum in just a few days. just when you think you know something, theres more to know.

then our adsl got cut off while we waited for the upgrade to adsl2... soooooo fast its scary. then i had to go to wollongong to teach and i had lovely classes this week, i am really enjoying it. and i went to a meeting at which my request for an airfare to rome was met with favourably, so it appears as though i am off to italy in a few weeks time. soooo excited. its a full on major international conference, two days in rome, four days in sardinia. all the big whigs, including the people you reference in your phd. eeeck. and im giving a paper. eeeeeeck! more details as they come to hand.

so now i have to start marking essays, finish editing two chapters for the book, write my paper AND my own chapter for the all the usual stuff, like housework, cooking, shopping etc. let alone finding time to comment on everyone elses' fabulously busy blogs! and then go to camden this weekend for more herding practice, and still find time to knit! will someone please stop the merry-go-round!!

a frazzled
k xx

Monday, March 19, 2007

major progress

today was 'canberra day' (??) and also raining (yay), so there was plenty of time (when i had finished being a slave to the other halves sudden dusting impulse - curses on public holidays with no dog sports) to make progress on the wrap:

this progress would not have been possible without the amazing taph who spent much time in starbucks yesterday trying to figure out what appears to be an unnecessarily complicated pattern and giving me lots of alternative ways to do it, and then watching while i dry-blocked (aka stretched) the band from 23.5 inches to the required 27 inches, then picked up 137 stitches, as per the pattern, because i am too much of a coward to stray from the printed page.

now i am up to the part where i start adding some decreases for shaping. two things: one - i still dont get the 'through the back of the loop' part on an SSK and two: why must you put a marker about 20 rows BEFORE the row on which the decrease needs to take place? why not just do the decrease at the required spot and THEN mark it? or else even just the row before?

and i need to buy some of those cute stitch markers. fraying bits of wool arent going to last long.

otherwise im a very happy knitter.
k xx

Saturday, March 17, 2007

when the cats away

i forgot to mention that this weekend we are kind of home, as trent is running jem at an agility trial tonight rather than schlepping up to sydney tomorrow for flyball. i hope they do well, i am not allowed to go watch as jem likes to run off the course and see where im at before returning to the task at hand. bloody mongrel cattle dog.

but when hes at home the mongrel has this little toy that the old 'neighbour from hell' (nfh)* left us. it makes funny little noises and jem loves it, wont let poss play with it, guards it etc. i think i posted a pic of them with it before.

anyway tonight poss and i were running around the house with it and i got some good pix:

yes shes up on the bed. no shes not supposed to be. but when the cats away, as they say....

k xx

* footnote: the nfh finally sold up and moved all her crap out last week, blissful silence descended and now we have a new family next door, two young kids, but they seem cool so far. we'll let them settle in before introducing them to the mongrel and the princess!

bits and pieces

things have been rather hectic this week. it seems like 5 minutes have passed since i get back on thursday nights before its wednesday morning again and i must rush back to wollongong! the knitting is suffering badly. i have not been game to proceed with the wrap band, as i get a feeling its way too short, (this is the bit where the row tension comes back to bite) but i am going to snb tomorrow and will seek help then. i am working on trents second stripey sock before i go back to knit the second waratah sock.

so i have nothing to show.

only tell. i have had my first serious article published (i have had another one accepted but this is the first one to make into print). check it out. i dont think you can download the whole thing unless you log on through an institutional database but trust me, the abstract's enough. i am the fourth item (the second article).

i also found out i might be able to get funding to go to a major international conference in sardinia (italy) in may, we rushed through a proposal and should know in a week or so if we can go (planning on going with richard who i am editing a book with). did you know it is impossible to book a ferry from rome (civitavecchia) to cagliari? looks like we have to go to naples first. sigh. what a drag. naples to sardinia in spring. terrible really.

if i whinge about anything for the next 6 months please slap me.

see you tomorrow.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

what now?

i have done the band for the wrap, at least i think i have, it says 171 rows and i cant count rows properly manually but my row counter says 171. so lets go with that.

but i have some problems. these are stupid questions but i am a self taught knitter and dont have generations of old-lady knowledge to draw on, so any help appreciated.

1. with single rib, how do you know which is the right side? it had a crochet cast on and then i knit the first row into the cast on. the pattern says the first row of rib is the right side which means it is the one with the tail from the start of the actual yarn (ie, not the crochet cast on) on the right hand side of the band yes? it says to finish on a right side row, does that mean before or after you work that row?

2. the pattern then says "place first 14 stitches of row just worked on st holder, 1 st rem on needle. pick up and k 4 sts in every 5 rows along edge of work (137) sts incl st left on needle from last row worked." i know how to pick up and knit but does this mean pick up 4 then skip one that you could pick up, and pick up the next 4 etc, thus drawing the work in a little bit? is it any 4 out of those 5 or the first 4? does it matter?!

ALSO if i am on the right side, and i slip off the first 14 sts then the active yarn gets slipped off with them. do it tie it off and start the yarn new? or am i on the wrong side?

oh god i wish it were next sunday afternoon and there was an snb now.

on a lighter note, we have had no dog things this weekend but have been busy socialising. yesterday we drove up to sydney for a tupperware party at daves place. dave is one of our dog friends and the party was a fundraiser for our flyball team. i am 38 years old. trent my partner is 43. we have never bought tupperware before. it was kind of exciting. this is what we bought:

a basic pantry kit

some cool collapsible bowls, very handy for camping.

i wanted lots more but this stuff aint cheap and we will start slow and build from there. who knew bits of plastic could make you feel all grown up? i didnt knit during the party tho, thought that might be a bit rude :)

and this afternoon we went to a bbq housewarming lunch for some friends who have just moved here from the blue mountains. georgina is a mad knitter, and a good one, i will be bringing her to snb next sunday.

now i need to have a nanna nap.
k xx

Friday, March 09, 2007

cloud busting

this is a post just for fern, who is living in norway now. it was this time last year i was in amsterdam and i remember how small the sky felt, with the grey all the time, just solid grey, and how i loved it but i missed the big sky. today the clouds are really striking:

and the sky looks really big:

especially looking towards yass in the west:

in the words of kate bush, we're looking at the big sky, its changing in the big sky now...

hope that helps fernicle.
k xx

back to work...

so this week i started back at teaching at uni after having last session off to concentrate on the phd (i did get 3 chapters written so that was probly worth it). but now there is no scholarship and no govt assistance and still some chapters to write, and poverty has lost its romantic glow, so its back to work. i sometimes dread teaching, if its straight history they still expect to have to just deal with the facts (as though there are such things) and will sit in a tute for an hour with horrible blank faces, , so i am pleased this session to be teaching australian studies (more contemporary, theoretical) and a third year subject 'debate in australian cultural history' which is all about the black armband history debates etc, among other things. i had four hours straight wed afternoon and was very pleased with most of my students. readings had actually been done, questions were asked, discussions had. the hard one will the last one at 430, full of primary school teachers-in-training for whom aust studies is compulsory. i know our public education is very good but the 'uncriticallness' of some of these students brains worries me sometimes. but thats ok, its first year, they'll get better.

here is a picture of my office which i share with the lovely deborah.

we have the best decorated office in our corridor, thankfully we are very alike when it comes to making cosy work spaces. all the pacific paraphenalia is from debs many travels to samoa etc.

and this is my desk. it was covered in about an inch of dust and my profile had been wiped from the computer which is running like a dog but anyway...

i took my knitting with me but got absolutely none of it done. so i just carried my new knitting bag hopefully around with me. like bells, i wondered whether it would be appropriate to take it with me to class and knit while my students discussed the readings. or to the lecture i dont get paid for. i decided against it.

but here is a picture of the bag anyway.

as some of you know, i constantly dilemma over the knitting bag. i would like one big multi-purpose bag that i could take everywhere with knitting plus all my other junk but i cant afford one of those jordana paige bags and i would end up carrying around about an extra half a ton. so i have settled for this 'rights at work' bag that i got from the bathurst show of all places, full of 'rights at work' stickers which i put along the corridor at uni. it has all my current projects in it:

but i still have to carry a hand bag as well. sigh. one day the perfect solution will appear.

now i must go do housewifely things.

k xx

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

waratah socks

no i have not been making socks for my favourite rugby team. i have made one sock out of my waratah hand-died and the colour reminds me of a waratah, so its waratahs all round.

these have a picot beginning, are 66stitches on 2.75mm needles, so are a bit chunkier than usual. i also made the foot quite generous in length, they could do with being a centimetre or two shorter, but i like that they are roomy without being loose - i forgot the bigger needles would make the whole thing bigger as well. they will make excellent boot socks tho, esp with the picot edge.

and its a lovely cool day to be trying on woollen socks, with the very first hint of autumn in the air. the vine out the back has a couple of red leaves and the maples along the street are starting to thin... i even had to wear a cardigan out this morning. could the endless canberra summer finally be coming to an end?

and i have stopped dreaming of sheep finally.

k xx

Monday, March 05, 2007

trialling debut

there is no knitting content in this post but lots about sheep.

as you may have noticed, i have been in training for a while to do yard dog trials with my koolie called possum. we got into this because possum was out of control and i needed to know how to handle a real working dog. so we went off to these 'herding clinics' with this guy called robert cox. both robert and his wife jenny compete in yard dog trials with their amazing kelpies and it soon became obvious that possum was a good little worker, she just needed some direction.

so we have spent the last 18 months i think learning how to get inside the head of a mad working dog, and learning all the techniques for getting your dog to move sheep for you. and finally possum and i were deemed ready and went off to bathurst this weekend for the beginner yard dog trial at the bathurst show. one of our fellow school mates, jo rainger and her pretty show kelpie del, have also been training and they entered as well. for a really great analysis, see jo's post on the coffee blog (i am stealing some of her pictures here too).

my interpretation of events is rather blurry. this is the very first time i have ever done any dog competition type thing. trent is the one who does all the flyball and agility with jem. he even took poss to obedience cos i was too self-conscious to go to a class with other people. so it has taken a lot for me to get up in public and do something with my dog. i think that the terror of this caused my brain to stop functioning. i had a plan for what i would need to do but once in the ring, things moved so fast the plan kind of went out the window!

anyway, let the pictures tell the story:

here we are walking into the ring (yard actually, it being square). in case you hadnt noticed, the event was sponsored by pedigree!

here am i shutting the first gate. i learnt that lesson at training one day, always shut gates behind you!

these are the only two pictures that my dearly beloved could manage. he said he was too busy watching after that. so the rest of the pix are courtesy of jo.

here i am thinking about what i need to do. what im thinking is, possum go up there nice and soft and bring those sheep to me nice and soft.

being a mind reader, she heard the first part and did a beautiful wide 'cast' (ie goes out wide around the sheep so she can get behind them without bothering them).

but missed the second 'nice and soft' so before i knew it the sheep were at my feet and possum was going mad running circles around them. i should have yelled at her to drop right when she got to the spot where they started to move but i was too slow and once she gets her tail up its all over. so then i fell back into what we do at training which was physically block her from working the sheep, forgetting that i was actually trialling and my job was to go open the gate so she could get them through the little force and up into the draft.

i was standing there yelling at her to get off them and im sure i heard roberts voice in my head telling me to go to the gate. and i definitely heard the judge say 'go to your gate'. thank you nice judge.

so as soon as i start moving so does poss and the sheep are at the gate practically before i get there and your dog is supposed to clear the gate for you, so i lost um, a few, points there, but she got them up the draft well.

except they were being dicky sheep and got stuck facing the wrong direction, so despite possum's best efforts, they wouldnt turn, so the judge and i turned them instead. more points lost.

so then i had to let them out of the draft and back into the main paddock - i got possum to drop while i closed the gate but then she decided she wasnt finished and ran out to start working them again.

bad possum. more points lost.

we ended up with 70 points out of a possible 100 (you start with 100 and they take them off as you go) and jo did great with del and got 79, and i didnt come last. i did get beaten twice by a twelve year old working her dad's dogs. no im not bitter about that.

i sat with robert after and we went through what i did wrong,

and i felt like i could have gone back in straight away and done a much better job, but i do need some more training to reinforce some things with possum (ie, dog works when i tell dog to work, not when dog decides to!) i did it really to learn stuff, to see where we were at and what issues we still needed to work on, and i certainly did that. i am frustrated with myself that i forgot the tools i had learnt but pleased that i had a go and learnt so much.

we had a great time at the show too, saw lots, including some old friends from 10 years ago in sydney who now live at molong! it was lovely to have other friends from herding/flyball come watch and we even managed a meeting of the coffee club there!

we drove up and back in a day so it was kind of exhausting and we tried to sleep most of yesterday but is it possible for canberra to get any hotter? i mean really, enough already.

so it was all good and if i was a little bit addicted to herding i am totally hooked now and cant wait for my next trial (probably not till the orange show at the end of april).

will post about knitting when picot sock is done (almost there).

k xx

Friday, March 02, 2007

just words

there are no pix today because 'somebody else' has taken the camera to work to take pix of his little coffee shop for the other blog. they were just going to be works-in-progress pix anyway, the waratah practise-picot sock is about halfway down the foot and the band for the wrap is at about 120 rows out of the required 170. i am going to have to get someone to explain the next part of the pattern on that one to me, there are stitch markers involved. hmmm.

anyway im completely exhausted today and i missed snb last night because i was driving back from the 'gong. i left at 6am yesterday and had a two hour meeting at 9 about the book im co-editting, including going through a chapter with a contributor. some contributors have not taken kindly to some of the editorial advice they have been given (academics can be precious little things sometimes!) but this contributor was very open so that was nice. and then one of my supervisors (the good one. the other one is on study leave) took me out for lunch and we had a two and a half hour conversation about the rotting corpse that is australian labour history, how my thesis is going to revive it (ha!) and about the future of research in arts faculties including some loose hints about my own future, and some not-so-idle chitchat about the advantages and disadvantages of trying to write a phd on your own in a room in The Can. in other words, it was an extremely positive meeting. not once did he tell me i was wrong about something. he said one chapter was nearly perfect, the theory chapter needed some development but i could come back to it and the chapter i just wrote needed a shift in focus which i knew anyway but his ideas were extremely helpful. i felt like asking him 'who are you and what have you done with my supervisor'. so it was very inspiring and uplifting. its a shame i had to have a meltdown and throw a hissy fit to get taken seriously but anyway, its all good. today. touch wood.

then i went to the first lecture of the third year cultural history/theory subject im co-teaching and a student interrupted the lecture to ask were we trying to say that theres a difference between the past and history and did history, as we meant it, have an impact on the future, and this sparked a discussion in the middle of the lecture that made the lecturer and i look in wonderment at each other (again with the who are you and what have you done with the usual undergrads?). so now i am feeling all inspired about teaching again too!

it was great to be on campus again and to sit in my little office even tho the IT guys had wiped my profile off the server (nice one lads, thank god for flash drives), and i left about 630 and got home at 930 and i dont think ive really woken up yet!

tomorrow we head up to bathurst for possum and my yard dog trial debut at the bathurst show and im half terrified half excited. fingers crossed we dont stuff it up completely!

thats enough words for one day.

have a good weekend.
k xx