Friday, November 30, 2007


i am completely brain drained from a rather intense two days of workshopping and hanging around with big whig international speakers who are actually really nice people, which helps. here is a link to a little story about it:

hegemony workshop

we had a great time, and i learnt a lot. i think it came at a very good time, in terms of personal inspiration. i gave a paper about resistance and new social movements, and we were discussing the connection between academics and activism, and prof ruccio put it very nicely i think, that what we do as academics isnt the most important thing that can be done, but it is one of the things that needs to be done.

i hope he is right.

i think i am going back to bed for a while tho....

k xx

Monday, November 26, 2007

i made this

i am no nigella and this is no mouthfuls of heaven but there was a bit of a bake fest going on here last friday. first i made lamb rissoles to have cold for lunch on saturday using a 'secret ingredient', now not so secret. you know those tubs of chunky dip you get in the supermarket, chilli, cashews and parmesan etc. and they come in heaps of flavours? well tip a whole one of those into a kilo of mince (i used the spicy tomato and basil one) and see what happens.

i also baked chocolate chip cookies:

and put together a strawberry and cream sponge for someones birthday (please note, i did not actually COOK the sponge part):

then we spent saturday doing flyball up in sydney until well into the night, where all these goodies were consumed. i ran possum cos trent was judging and i came away very sore. and im not the one doing the running. sheesh.

today i made this:

3000 words from scratch, a paper i am giving on wednesday at a workshop/conference thingy. thats where i will be for the next two days.

and i am soooo doing a happy dance re: election result. about freakin' time.

catch you thursday.

k xx

Friday, November 23, 2007

because its pretty

in order to balance the man-car rant, i am reposting a picture of waving lace one. because i can. because this is a 'knitting blog'. because its pretty. and because i have cast on number two already.

this one has a slightly different colour because the sun came out from behind clouds.

did i mention i did a proper toe graft?

k xx

Thursday, November 22, 2007

men are from mars...or the car hates me part two

things happen fast around here. and at the risk of sounding like i blog every single second of my life, i have an update on the car situation as detailed below.

(and i probably do blog about every single second of my life, thats what happens when you are camped in front of a computer all day with only your own brain and two dogs for company. things tend to get a little whacko).

so, i am given instructions by He Who Must Be Obeyed (no not voldemort, i am talking about the Owner of The Car) to take the car to this mechanic guy we used to see when we lived here before. some back story: it was suggested to me that i should take the recent insurance jobs on the car to this said mechanic guy but the insurance company had recommended some other place, and, (at the risk of adding reinforcements to that patriarchy i have been so angry with lately), being a girl, i was only dimly aware that you can take your car to any repairer for insurance work these days. (call me silly, but i tend not to keep information like that at the front of my brain). but i didnt follow that advice because the name of that mechanic had changed and i thought, hmm maybe its not the same guy, and i should just do what the insurance company tells me. (yes yes i know). so the insurance work gets done Somewhere Else.

but this morning, i take the car and its little scratch (heres a picture):

off to the Mechanic-we-used-to-see-but-whose-workshop-has-a-new-name. it is of course, The Same Guy. he remembers me (he would, we um, sent him a lot of business when we used to live here before). he looks at the car, shakes his head at me, says he can fix it but not on rainy day and offers to fix it for free. no kidding. (no i am not telling you who he is, he'll kill me). i express my surprise and gratitude and he says 'just dont take your car to Somewhere Else in future'. i act like a girl and say 'oh i thought i had to take it to where the insurance company tells me, cos i would have bought it here if i thought i could' and he says 'no they passed a law about that' and then some distant bell goes off in the back of my brain somewhere and i feel like a complete idiot. like surely the biggest idiot ever born. i hang my head in shame and promise to sign away my first born if it would help.

i also take back every bad thing i ever said about a mechanic.

but thats not what this post is about (although it is nice to know there are some really decent human beings out there).

i ring He Who Must Be Obeyed with this good news, and he proceeds to tell me how he TOLD me i should have taken the car to Nice Mechanic for the insurance work and how now he feels really guilty (as do i) and he KNEW we should have taken it there and i just sit there and pout.

one, he ruined my good news. ok, i did the wrong thing before but i did the right thing today and i covered his arse with my own stupidity. he should be HAPPY.

but no.

two, being a male, he must tell me how he told me to do it a certain way before but i didnt and thus forgets that i am the one who has to run around and tend to these things so i just do the best i can but he still has to find fault with it.

this is the rule. if you dont take care of it yourself you CAN NOT criticise the person who does take care of it. if you are also wrong about something, or contributory in some way, ie, you didnt INSIST that it be taken to the Nice Mechanic by explaining clearly the new laws allowing these things, then its also at least partly your fault, no?

for example, this last weekend, i rang He Must Be Obeyed and asked him to bring a second pair of jeans to Sydney with him when he came because i had forgotten to do so. he did of course, bring the wrong pair. i got upset with him (not really, just one of those pretend-upsets when men do pretty much what you expect them to do).

but you know what, it was wrong of me to get upset with him at all. it was my fault for not packing enough clothes. have i not known him long enough to know he wouldnt know the difference between two pairs of my blue jeans if they reached out and slapped him?

i was bad. i was wrong. i am sorry.

the point is, why are inter-sex communications so difficult? is it really the case that men are from mars? because i swear to god somedays i dont know what goes on in their little brains. i quite like them as a species generally, and dont subscribe to the belief that they are all basically simpletons who need just to be fed to be happy, but i do wonder what language they speak and whose idea of a joke was it to make our ways of processing information and feelings so entirely different?

anyway, now i am home and have plenty of time to pensky file after all so all is not lost. and i hereby promise not to blog every single thought or feeling i have for at least a week.

k xx

the car hates me

even i will admit this is a weird topic to blog about but i am pretty sure that the car hates me. personally speaking. it has not been a fan of trent at times, but right now it really hates me.

let me explain. only a week or two before we left the can, trent reverses out of a petrol station and smacks the side of the car (rear left) into one of those signs they put at the end of the bowsers. (it was the shell at charnwood if you care). we had to wait until we had moved and recovered from that financial mess before we could afford the $500 excess to have it fixed. poor trent, he feels like crap, we have no money, guilt and anger all round. horrible.

we get down here to the gong and we get it fixed. nice repair job, bumper bar fixed, spray painted door and rear panel etc.

about three months later im getting petrol at our local servo (freedom fuel at towradgi, again, in case you want to avoid an obviously cursed petrol station). when i come out from paying, a petrol tanker has pulled in and is blocking me from reversing, so i must inch forward and try and manouver past it at the front. a guy is trying to help me, i try to follow his direction. smack. rear left of car h its front of petrol tanker. exactly the same spot. another $500 excess. poor kylie, she feels like crap, we have no money, guilt and anger all around. horrible.

but we get it fixed again, same place. nice repair job, new bumper bar this time, spray painted door and rear panel etc.

since then, kylie has been soooo careful with said car its a wonder i get anywhere. ok, i drive too fast, but when i am in tight spots i move very slowly and carefully.

so what do i do this morning? im taking trent to the train station. to do that i have to reverse the car out of a long tight driveway. i do it every day, sometimes more than once. i feel like im starting to get the hang of reversing in a straight line (who would have thought that could be so problematic?) today i have put the dogs in the back of the car. it is raining and i havent windscreenwiped yet. there is a stupid annoying song on triple j that i comment on as i reverse. i tell the dogs to lie down cos i cant see clearly. i think, i am too far over on the right. i hear and feel a bump and stop. i have hit the mail box at the end of the driveway. yep, same spot, rear left door etc.

this time i have just scraped the paint and it will probably get away with a touch up job. but still. kylie feels like crap. we have no money. guilt and anger all around. horrible.

now i must spend my morning getting quotes on repair jobs and dealing with mechanic types rather than writing. and feeling sick at the thought of having to spend money on a car that so obviously hates me when we are trying so hard to save right now.

grrr. not happy jan.

k >:-(

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

it still has no title*

it is with great delight that i submit for your viewing pleasure, Waving Lace One:




this took almost 50g of waratah fibre hand dyed 3ply and i have another skein of 50g for the other one.

i am enjoying this pattern a lot and am thrilled that despite my alterations it fits me perfectly. when i have done the second one i will report in more detail on what i did and what i learnt.

i think i am more proud of this than i am of the fact that i also wrote 1300 words of the pe(n)sky file yesterday.

this morning i am off to have coffee with a new friend, a young female prostgrad. i have a feeling this may restore some balance and will keep me inspired to come back and write more words.

have a good one
k xx

*Edit: it was brought to my attention that my post had no title which means it doesnt show up on RSS feeds apparently. sorry. but i still cant think of a title. also, it is NOT funny to blog about the fact that you have a new friend. and no, she is not imaginary. we had a very nice chat over coffee at north beach, thanks very much.

Monday, November 19, 2007

slow going

hehehe thats so cool that people are now calling the pensky file the pesky file. nothing freudian about our spider (see comments to last post). it is pesky. it is like a mozzie buzzing around your head while youre trying to sleep on a hot night. you slap at it and slap at it and then eventually yell at it to bugger off!

thank you also for the feedback re the personal nature of blogging. the heavy-sayers, interestingly, were non-bloggers. also people who i usually have to prise open like a clam shell to get 'feelings' out of, so i think they are a little put off at times by the whole blogging thing. at times i do worry about the potential problems of public diary keeping, of sorts. i have gone back and editted some posts at times because i have said too much or given too many clues as to who i might be talking about.

but yeah. its my bloggy and i'll cry if i want to.

i am finding my tendencies to be brutally honest are more and more pressing the more i hang around with academic types. on thursday i was so agitated that i had to drive to sydney to be around 'normal' people. ok, they were dog people, so not quite normal. but better. and today i have had another rather heated conversation with one of them about paternalism, patronisation and sexism. i didnt think that stuff happened anymore but now i think a lot of the 'problems' i have are of a gendered nature, that i wouldnt be spoken to, or given the advice, that i am if i were a bloke.

i guess i dont expect that kind of behaviour from educated types, so its more disillusioning than it would otherwise be.

and i didnt have any expectation when i started of being able to change the world, but doing this thing has made me completely re-assess what is important in this life, and i think really that thats a good thing. if nothing else comes of it, thats good.

speaking of which, it is slow going on the pesky file today. words are stuck somewhere between my dried out brain and my slow fingers. i am tired from a long weekend in the very hot heat of camden practising not-chasing sheep around a ring (no paddock this weekend thank god). miss possum and i did a lot of standing around looking at sheep and trying not to bark at them (nothingness being the objective). she did pretty good. i didnt bark much either.

i did do some knitting, waving lace on sat and the contrast socks on sunday. i have just slipped the waving lace over my foot and am extremely pleased. check it out (mobile phone photo):

is there anything more one need achieve in life than hand knitted lace socks that fit perfectly and feel like silk?

i think not.

k xx

Thursday, November 15, 2007

meme too

yesterdays post has been described by some as 'heavy'. my apologies for that. i have rather a lot going through my head right now. i will attempt to keep my nearly mid life crisis to myself in future!

so, because i am all full of energy and have been to a conference at uni this morning which just completely exacerbated everything i wrote yesterday, todays post is a meme, in the interests of saying a lot without saying much at all. borrowed from spider and donna via amy :)

1. Name one person who made you laugh last night.

Chas Licciardello when he came unstuck from the ceiling

2. What were you doing at 0800?

reading spiders meme

3. What were you doing 30 minutes ago?

getting changed out of my 'school' clothes

4. What happened to you in 2006?

i was halfway through my phd and i went to amsterdam for a conference and i saw this fantastic exhibition of rembrandts and caravaggios in the van gogh musuem and i sat on a bench and cried at how amazing art was and how amazing it was to be in amsterdam

5. What was the last thing you said out loud?

good puppies

6. How many beverages did you have today?

2 coffees, one coke zero, one bottle of water

7. What color is your hairbrush?

blackwith a red rubber bit where the spikes stick out

8. What was the last thing you paid for?

a coffee at uni this morning

9. Where were you last night?

home, knitting, watching the chaser and prison break

10. What color is your front door?

its glass

11. Where do you keep your change?

in a little terracotta dish hand painted by 'studio sebastian' that we got for racing in the flyball at the sydney royal easter show a year or two ago

12. Whats the weather like today?

sunny, humid, a bit hazy, 25 degrees

13. What's the best ice-cream flavor?

homer hudson chocolate rock

14. What excites you?

knitting, yarn, looking at my knit picks, ice cream, going away for weekends with trent dogs and friends

15. Do you want to cut your hair?

at times yes, it needs a trim but its good long. i have moments of day dreaming about a sleek french bob but then i wake up

16. Are you over the age of 25?

way over 25. good god, when i was 25, that gabrielle song 'dreams' was top of the charts

17. Do you talk a lot?

way too much, i really need to learn to shut up

18. Do you watch the O.C?

dude, if it were still on, i would be watching....'california here we come, right back where we started from'

19. Do you know anyone named Steven?

yes a very good professor of european history in my faculty

20. Do you make up your own words?

scrinch is not a made up word

21. Are you a jealous person.

i am a scorpio, it goes with the territory

22. Name a friend whose name starts with the letter 'A'.

the amazing antoinette. she gets around hm?

23. Name a friend whose name starts with the letter 'K'.

kenz :)

24. Who's the first person on your received call list?

trent. may it ever be so.

25. What does the last text message you received say?

"i will play your game, can you?" from dave, in response to the one i sent him about whether i could knit in a conference or not (the answer is no, by the way, too weird)

26. Do you chew on your straw?

yep, and tie it up in knots till it snaps

27. Do you have curly hair?

sigh. it has been known to have those kinds of tendencys unless i take to it with hot metal implements. unfortunately

28. Where's the next place you're going to?

sydney, this evening, although im thinking of going sooner and dropping in on dave in engadine

29. Who's the rudest person in your life?

oh man its a race to the finish line there. i cant say, this being a public blog.

30. What was the last thing you ate?

a strange little curry puff at the conference lunch

31. Will you get married in the future?

not unless we take a trip to vegas someday

32. What's the best movie you've seen in the past 2 weeks?

well i havent seen many lately, the last dvd i watched was 'the butterfly effect'. surprisingly good

33. Is there anyone you like right now?

trent and jo and dave and george and bea and spidey and bells and...well you get the idea...

34. When was the last time you did the dishes?

this morning, they were last nights

35. Are you currently depressed?

i am trying to pretend im not thanks very much

36. Did you cry today?

not yet but the day aint over yet

37. Why did you answer and post this?

because i am full of energy and emotion at the moment and cant be trusted to say anything less harmful

your turn

k xx

Wednesday, November 14, 2007


Or: A Very Public Private Manifesto

again, this comes with a limited knitting content warning.

i have been thinking. really hard, obviously, because i have written another 2500 words since yesterday. everytime i stop writing i sit here and think well, im that little bit closer to the end. and i think about how i shouldnt have wasted so much time thinking about writing before, i should have just written.

all that is pointless really. i am writing now and its nearly finished.

this nearly finished state of affairs makes one think of the future. of life after 'nearly finished', of the possibility of life after 'finished'.

but its not just that thats got me thinking. there have been some very interesting occurrences this year, from which i have learnt a lot.

i think it started with the trip to italy. despite all the postcards from pretty places, it was actually an academic trip and i did a LOT of listening and talking to other academics there. ok, so a lot of it was in italian and/or through earphones.

but i came away from there with a very different attitude about academia. dont get me wrong, ive never had rose coloured glasses about it. i have had many an argument with many a self-important professorial type about the relative futility of academic work, and despite all their protestations and even some of their good reasons, there abides in me still the very deep seated belief that nothing we do in the ivy-covered walls makes one iota of difference to the very real trouble going on in this world. but there was something about the way that a bunch of so-called socialist thinkers behaved that made me feel...well...queasy.

and i can not, will not, shake the belief that unless you are out there at ground zero (and i dont mean the hole in the ground in new york), then you are, one way or another, part of the problem, not the solution. i dont mean to damn everyone of us, myself included, but thats the reality. there are millions of people in this world struggling to get enough to eat on a daily basis, and my pensky file, and all the grants and conferences in the world, will do nothing to help them.

so i am a little bit over people telling me how i need to finish because theres this or that job coming up, this or that grant to apply for, this or that conference to go to. so what? i have been to places in my life that would make most peoples hair curl. most of the people i know today do not know that about me. they make assumptions about me based on what they see now. they see all the things i could, should, ought to do. they dont know that every day i wake up alive is a blessing. they dont know that at one point, i believed i would not get to 39. and these people act like they know something about me, or about the world, that i need to know. they used to make me angry. now i just smile at them. some of these people i even consider friends, and they think they have some right to tell me what i should or shouldnt be doing with my life. (no jo i am not in the least bit referring to the conversation we had today, im still going to make that appointment!!).

i have people telling me things, making judgements about things i do, that i would never dream of doing to them. i didnt know that that was what friendship was. i thought it was complete and unconditional acceptance. if i cant give that to you, let alone you to me, then as far as im concerned, we're not really friends. i can count on one hand the people in my life that i think of in that way. two of them are dogs. ok, i need two hands now :)

my point is, that none of it matters. i am so incredibly lucky to be where i am, to have achieved what i have achieved. im not perfect, there are things i dislike about myself, but who i am today doesnt even compare to who i used to be. i am so lucky to have that many people that i do call real friends, who support me no matter what. i am so lucky to have a partner who is kind, loving, patient, generous and forgiving and who thinks im funny even when im cross (lets face it, i am funny, i dont do cross well!).

on the weekend he said something that is the nicest thing anyone ever said to me. he said that he doesnt care what i do after 'the finish', so long as i am happy. i dont really know what 'happy' is, i have spent so much of my life not being it, looking somewhere else for it.

but today, looking at the light get brighter at the end of the tunnel, thinking of how much darkness remains behind, im pretty sure im happy.

which makes me a very lucky human being indeed.

my manifesto then is to remember that. and to never forget where i came from.

k xx

ps sorry if i sound kinda bombastic, i should probly not think so much :)

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

quote of the day...

courtesy of todays online sydney morning herald in a story about ugly celebrities (they exist apparently):

"Discussing her daily food intake with the mag, Stewart reports typical paranoid carbophobia behaviour, such as scooping the soft bread out of bagels.

"Everyone in the US scoops out their bagels, so I do it when I come back to the UK, too. I always think, why do you need that extra bread?" Geez, I dunno. Maybe to stop you collapsing into unconsciousness because you're really, really hungry."

has the world gone entirely mad? oh dont answer, its a rhetorical question. some days all i can do is shake my head at how entirely fucked up our priorities have become. dont get me started on yesterdays story about the pakistani guy held by asio and 'questioned' about terrorism. or todays one about the guy whos been in detention for 5 years while in possession of a valid visa.

the anger that i feel at these things is a very motivating factor for me right now - the conclusion of The Pensky File, which is ostensibly a work of australian history - tries to draw links between the historical ways in which people have been marginalised in australian society and the way we keep those processes happening today. i am giving a paper about it in a few weeks time at a conference, so a bit of ire should get me worked up.

this anger is also extremely motivating in relation to finishing. i am angry that i have been stuffed around by bad advice for such a long time by people who should know better, that i have not been supported properly, that i have been a pawn in other peoples power games. my anger at this is making me determined to finish it when people said i couldnt. in the last two and a half weeks i have written 11,000 words. i had been told that it would take me 6 weeks to write this many and so there was no possible way i could finish by christmas. i have nearly 50, 000 words and only need to write another 20 - 30, 000 which suddenly sounds like hardly any at all. so, you can do the math...

i feel like doing a bit of jude's weeweejiggle at the thought of how quickly i am getting through it, how fast the light at the end of the tunnel approaches. i am getting little tastes of what it might feel like to be free, and a reminder of what life was like before i had this thing hanging over me all the time. i cant quite explain what its been like - its like some dark shadow following you around, tapping you on the shoulder everytime you might want to think about something else, have a sit down, do some knitting, god forbid.

well not anymore mr pensky file demon shadow. 4 weeks and you are gone gone gone.

and then i can teach myself how to spin. hehehehehe....

i have no batteries in my camera and they are too expensive to buy new ones right now so i have tried to take some 'update' shots with my mobile (new one..its red..) ...bear with me here...ooh it worked..

first, wet dogs after a run up the beach (yes the sun is right in their eyes, sorry guys!):

second, pensky file in real life (see it does really exist!):

third, the second of the bendi/patonyle contrast sock:

and finally, the waving lace progress. because i really am being very disciplined and only knitting at night time, this is slow going, and i keep mis-reading the pattern and needing to go back but now i am at the heel and its coming up very nicely:

the heel is a different pattern to my usual, its a two row repeat, row one is 'slip one purlwise (wyb) k1 repeat' and the second row is 'slip one purlwise (wyf) purl to end'. anyone know what this is called, its looking pretty so far. i love this sock, cant wait to wear it!

and just so you know i am reading everyone elses blogs and trying to stay up to date but dont have much time for commenting at the moment. will try to do better.

k xx

Friday, November 09, 2007

i am gasping for air here people! another 5000 words of the pensky file has been wrenched from me like blood out of a stone and i can not write another one today - i am sooo close to finishing the chapter im on but my brain has gone dead and whatever i do write will be crap so best to put it aside for now. it is 430 friday afternoon and all.

and my camera batteries have died so i cant show you sock progress, but i have two lots of the pattern repeat on the waving lace and it looks great and i have also cast on the second of trents bendi/patonyle contrast socks for that 'plain knitting in the car' thing.

so instead of pictures, and because i must talk about knitting or i will die, i am going to do amy's sock meme. voila:

1. What’s your favorite sock yarn? (please note that the word “yarn” is singular. Just pick one. I know it’s hard.)

as i have not yet had the pleasure of the koigu, i will say my happy spider berry stripey self striping. helped by the fact that it has been made to order, just for me, there is none other like it!

2. What’s your favorite type and brand of sock needle?

knitpicks DPNs thanks very much

3. Do you knit your socks toe up, cuff down or sideways?

do NOT talk to me about toe ups!

4. Do you knit both socks at once or just one at a time?

good lord, one at a time, and even thats hard enough

5. What’s your favorite toe and why?

standard side decreases. easy to remember, looks good, esp if i remember to keep it square rather than pointy, and facilitated by the cheat of the inside-out three needle cast off :)

6. Favorite heel?

heel flap. i love the whole short row and turn and suddenly we're off in a different direction and the whole gusset shaping thing just gives really nice fit i think

7. Do you prefer plain or patterned socks?

i love self patterning yarn but i am just now getting into lace/patterns and im liking it long time

8. Who do you knit the most socks for?

me me me

9. Do you darn your socks? If not, what do you do with them?

hold them over a garbage bin, drop them and say 'darn it' :) (thanks YH)

10. Do you only wear handknit socks?

um no. i do have other things to do in life. plus there are the millions of chinese children working in sweat conditions to think of.

Bonus Question: What pattern, if any, is your basic “I-just-need-a-pair-of-socks” sock pattern based on? Do you keep it written down or memorized?

pennys basic sock recipe combined with the yarn harlot's cheat sheet, esp where i have to change measurements etc.

sigh. thats better.
have a good one

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

the events of the weekend (in relation to point five)

point five being the one about not knitting in a paddock with dust, flies, and sheep poo. warning - thats about as much knitting content as this post will contain.

i may have mentioned that we were going out to manildra for the weekend. why? i hear you ask. really, when i explain it to you you will think i have gone quite mad.

in short, miss possum and i went to practice our yard dog trialling skills at a beginners weekend organised by the yard dog association of new south wales. the workshop was run by my usual herding instructors, jenny and robert, and another trial judge, dave whitby. we stayed at the manildra royal hotel, arriving at 1030pm friday night to find the place jumping and our cute little rooms for $25 per person per night including breakfast most inviting. (i forgot to take pictures of that part). we drove through a major storm in between bathurst and orange and i thought we were in for a pretty muddy weekend but we were spared during the day.

we worked at the manildra showground.

its still pretty dry, they have only had about an inch of rain out there but maybe they got some more this week.

it was a very pretty place though.

on saturday we went through the rules of trialling, what you can and cant do, what you would and wouldnt lose points for (in a real trial you start with 100 points and lose them as you go!). then we went through all the components of a trial course, and practiced each part, and watched others practice.

saturday night we had a great meal at 'the cooked book' bistro at the pub, i ordered a rump steak not realising that this would deliver about a kilo of dead cow to my table. it was beautiful, one of the best pub steaks ever (except for the brekky creek hotel in brisvegas) but i refrained from eating it all. i think i am still digesting what i did eat.

lots of rain overnight, then more parts of the course sunday followed by a mock trial sunday afternoon. each part of the course has a name. first there is the 'cast' where you send the dog off to gather the sheep together, and then there is the pick up where she hits a spot behind them and brings them to where i want them, that is, through this gate and into this little pen (or 'force').

once in the force, she has to go round them and 'clear the gate' so that i can go over there and open that gate without having to touch any sheep (if you look closely you can just see her nose appearing in between the shoulder of the sheep and the outside fence):

then she pushes them up the race. in the race she gets up on the back of them to move them through, i dont have any pics of that.

her pick up was a bit off but she did the force and race really well. once through that race they are in another little force:

that leads to the draft, an enclosed ramp, where you usually have to manage a gate at the end of it to let some into the bigger yard and some out again, but we didnt bother with that, we just let them all up the draft and into the yard.

here we ran into trouble because she has not seen a draft like this before and she didnt know how to go backwards away from me again and she jumped out once or twice, this is no no. then we do the bit called the 'put away' where she has to gather them up again:

and move them to a spot and hold them there while i walk between her and the sheep to the gate, that i open and she has to move them through that gate and into the pens behind.

the first time round we had some issues here. my 'problem' with working possum has always been her rather, um, high, energy level (as they say in the country, 'shes got some work in her, that dog'). she is more prone to being out of control when i have not been as in control of her at home as usual, and because of some shifting circumstances, she has gotten less good attention and too much bad attention, that is, being my little princess instead of a working dog! when this happens, she tends to go out there with the sheep and act like she cant hear me, and i get cross with her, and then shes even less likely to work for me.

so, she just decided she would run amok at this point and chased the sheep into the pens behind the yard and tried to work them in there and then while im madly yelling at her to come here, she jumps in the water trough for a little lay down.

sheesh. needless to say, we didnt score too well in our little mock trial. we got to have another go and we didnt score it, just worked through some issues and she worked a bit better that time.

the really great thing was seeing jo and kobe have a go, and to see jo realise what she needed to do to get her dog to move around. i could see the light bulb go on over her head, it will be great to see where they go to now!

as much as i love doing this stuff, its really intensely frustrating. we have been working on it for such a long time, and we seem to take three steps backward for every two forward. admittedly, shes a pet dog, not a real working dog, and she gets to be around sheep once a month if lucky, but i try really hard and listen and learn, and everytime we go out there the goalposts move again. there is some new issue to work through, some new skill to learn!

i do think it will be worth it in the long run though but we have a lot of work to do in the meantime.

in other news, the pensky file is going well. i have had to finish off some marking and student administrivia, but last week i wrote 5000 words in three days. i am hoping to repeat that this week, and it looks on track to have a full product before christmas to send to supervisors to read. im quite sure i know what they are going to say, but i will deal with that when it happens. the most important thing is to get it as close to me being happy with it as possible.

or just finished.

meanwhile, its raining. i am trying to take possum for long walks in it every morning. isnt it lovely?

k xx

Monday, November 05, 2007

things i learnt about sock knitting

1. always make note of alterations you make to a pattern so that you get two socks the same.

2. in relation to point number one, always carry the first sock around so you can compare them - (do you get the feeling that this yarn has some kind of resistance with the concept of the TOE?):

3. if resizing a sock pattern, try and use some kind of mathematical principle to work out the new stitch count etc rather than just guess work.

4. dont knit lace socks in the car.
5. or in a paddock with dust, flies and sheep poo.
6. when tinking lace socks, remember the yarn overs!
7. dont be attached to whether your lace pattern actually looks like the one in the book, think of it as practice:

oh well. it might not actually be 'waving lace' but there is some kind of pattern there i think. this is nearly at the end of the first repeat and im just going to keep going and see what happens, these are for me, and the wool is not coping with the tinking and frogging and i just REFUSE to knit test swatches for socks, so the first sock will be the test swatch. i am thinking for lace socks you really need the good quality tightly spun wool to deal with the complicated needle work and to keep the pattern showing clearly. im enjoying them tho, they are very pretty :)

i will post later about the events of the weekend in relation to point 5. it was fun.

k xx

edit to add: i forgot to add dot point number 8: it would appear that i need to use stitch markers with socks. i have until now relied on the bit of left over cast on as the indicator of round-beginning, but twice on the weekend i knitted straight past it and had to do a lot of tinking in response! thankfully i have some rather pretty baubles i can use for this purpose!

Friday, November 02, 2007

sock slut

in wednesdays comments, bells accused me of having a one track mind. at the moment, this is true. all i can think about are socks.

but i have another confession. i am a sock slut.

not only do i have terrible second sock syndrome, so that the contrast socks for trent have been sitting at 50% on ravelry (and in the wip basket!) for some time now, but i have broken one of my own cardinal sock knitting rules.

that is, never cast on a new sock without finishing the current sock. you dont have to finish the pair, but you cant have two active socks on the needles.

until now.

look what i did:

see the unfinished thuja languishing, abandoned, in the background there. it is still sulking.

its not my fault. it was the siren call of the waratah hand dyed that sent me crashing onto the rocks of sock-sluttiness. let alone the divine pattern that is 'waving lace' socks:

this is my first real attempt at lace knitting of any kind (the couple of test swatches in that horrid brown stuff that margie gave me ages ago doesnt count), let alone using a chart. (i was so nervous about that part that i wrote it all out line by line anyway just to make sure!). i have made some adjustments in the stitch count and from 4 needles down to three, so it took a couple of attempts very early yesterday morning to get the rhythm of the pattern right, and i also had to look up on the internet thingy about yarn overs before you purl, but today i have this:

the whole scalloped edge. you cant really see the pattern in such close up but it is really there!

i am about to start on the leg. i am in love with this sock.

does that make me less slutty? ok, no it doesnt. *sigh*

its worth it though.

k xx

ps this weekend we are off to manildra to play with sheep. have a good one.