Wednesday, December 31, 2008

i'm ba-ack

and have been for a few days but what with unpacking and washing and trying to enjoy this week off, i am not up to much blogging. and there has not been much knitting really, just a lot of length added to the weldons lace scarf. it made for good car knitting. we had a lovely time away, it was good to be with family and we went for lots of drives and i saw fraser island for the first time. we didnt go over as it was too busy but we watched the ferry go over and then drove the car down onto the beach at inskipp point without deflating the tyres and got stuck in the sand. just for a little while. we got out with some help. next time, we take the proper equipment! then we went walking in the forest behind my dads place where possum picked up a tick, even tho she had a tick collar on, and started to show signs of paralysis so we drive up to the one and only vet open in hervey bay and he gave her the anti-tick serum which of course she had a bad reaction to, requiring a shot of adrenalin. i was a bit scared for her for a minute there, but she is ok. it wouldnt be a christmas away without one of our dogs getting ticked. sigh.

trent took some lovely photos which i will blog once i get around to resizing them. i might have something more interesting to show and tell by then, and i hope to get around to reading all the posts in my blogroll!

have a safe new years whatever you are doing. personally, i cant wait to see the back of 2008.

k xx

Monday, December 22, 2008


we are packing the car about to head up the highway to my dads place in queensland for christmas. i am, despite myself, looking forward to it. even the car trip is fun when you are a knitter!

hope everyone has a great week, whatever you do with it, see you on the 29th.

k xx

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

oh happy happy joy joy

so apparently my pollyanna attempt wasnt entirely convincing. meh. im no pollyanna, i know that. but i tried! today, i am genuinely happy tho. some good things happened yesterday, so its hard to stay grumpy forever.

firstly i got a little pressie in the mail. it might have been some malabrigo sock yarn in Tiziano Red. it is the most perfect colour for me, and is that not the best name for a red?! malabrigo sock yarn is designed to make you feel better about things all round. thank you, you little elf.

secondly, our second family christmas bbq here went very well and everyone had fun, and everyone loved their presents, and books were opened and read, and i was presented with a lovely box set of the harry potters. as if i needed an excuse to read them again! (btw, i finished atonement over coffee this morning. sigh. so sad, and beautiful. the ending is a bit different to the movie, i think the movie ending might be actually better, but otherwise its very faithful and the book is terrific).

tonight we are doing family dinner out, same people but all together in one place, instead of spread over two nights here. we are going to bbq king in goulburn st which im pretty sure is my favourite chinese restaurant in the known universe. hmmm bbq pork and duck....

but i digress.

tomorrow night i am hoping to get to snb in the city, and friday night we are having drinks and dinner with a visiting academic friend from the US and his wife, and some of our mutual academic friends from wollongong. after much soul searching, i decided to take them all to the latest sensation, din tai fung, for dumplings. hmmm dumplings.

sorry. no, this is not homer simpson writing on my blog.

then saturday we have our dog club christmas picnic, and then sunday the day trip to The Can then on monday we set out for the land of the queen (or the redneck). (god i wish my father had chosen to retire in tasmania, or the southern highlands. somewhere cool and sophisticated, for gods sake. anyway...)

so all this is to look forward to. but wait, theres more.

remember i mentioned i had been offered a job? i did some soul searching and talked to lots of people about it, and i decided to go for it. its a full time job, but because it was offered to me especially, they have changed the nature of the job a little to make it more flexible and to introduce a research component. so as well as developing and managing research projects for the faculty, i will be able to develop projects of my own, and work with others on their research. it is in health, not arts, which is not such a huge shift for me as i worked in health a long time ago, and there is an opportunity for me to bring my social theory to health projects, so i think its a good opportunity. and to be quite frank, arts faculties are dying a slow painful and protracted death. not that i think this is a good thing, because we always need critical thinking, now more than ever, but to be honest, in the race to the cash, arts faculties have merely raced to the bottom and the amount of critical thinking actually going on is pretty light on the ground. i am glad to be out of it.

so anyway, i applied through all the proper channels so that we can make sure everything looks legit, and they want to do the whole interview thing, but we couldnt find a mutual date until january 23. so yesterday they asked me if i would start the job now, just for 3 days a week (in recognition of the fact that i do have a 2 day a week job elsewhere, and i can not be expected to quit it until i have the other contract signed and in my hand) on a short term contract. i said yes. i start on jan 5, but have to go down this friday to sort it all out. i think i am quite excited, and of course i am just thrilled that they are quite keen to get me by the looks of things, and having done the job for a few weeks on a flexible arrangement (including working from home) means it will be easier for me to negotiate more of the same for the full time gig. it is funny how things work out though, isnt it?

all of this is in the future of course. so in the interest of keeping the joy in the moment, i got a couple of photos around the place last night before my camera batteries died. i am very pleased that since we moved here trent has been able to do lots of more training with jem, and he has bought some weave poles. last night they did some excellent training. here is jem weaving:

here is jem with his post-weave reward:

and here is the single big tomato (lots more have appeared on the cherry plant) growing every day:

i hope i get more of these on this plant. so far nothing on the roma...are they usually slower?

now i have some work to do.

k xx

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

trying pollyanna

i am under threat to post something positive today by someone who took offence to my little vomit of negativity yesterday. not any of you, who made lovely understanding supportive comments. perhaps i was a bit harsh. but sometimes when you feel sick and you throw up you feel a bit better afterwards. so im going to try and be a bit of a pollyanna today, not purely because i have been threatened, but also because i am actually enjoying reading peoples happy christmas blogs (see for example quiltingmick and kuka), and maybe, just maybe, there are some good things going on as well.

firstly, lets be clear. i am by nature anti-social, except where knitting is concerned. i dont like groups, i get self-conscious and anxious and i just want to go sit in a corner and read. i was always always like this, as long as i can remember. at primary school i had my two best friends and that was it. i was happy that way. i am happy that way now. so enforced socialising like what happens at this time of year is really hard. secondly, i come with a whole heap of fucked up baggage about christmas and of course i know that i still tend to opt for pessimism and cynicism rather than have expectations dashed, yet again. i also know its possible to change that, and to have good experiences. i have had plenty of those too, and so far this year has not actually been BAD.

it has been nice to buy books for kids and to see them actually sit down and start reading. it has been nice to plan hand knitted gifts for some people, and i am actually looking forward to seeing my dad, really. i am making a conscious effort to try and improve our relationship, so it will be a step in the right direction.

i am, however, a little annoyed that i have not had time to do all the stuff i would really like to do, like make my own mince pies or my favourite ice cream pudding, or to actually FINISH hand knitted gifts for everyone. only some people are getting things and they wont even be finished! so maybe thats why i was a bit bah humbug yesterday (quiet down the back). perhaps next year if i plan a bit better it will be better all round.

and i am really looking forward to a daytrip to canberra this coming sunday where i will be very comfortable in a large group of knitters, eating cupcakes.

see, i can do pollyanna. sort of :)

k xx

Monday, December 15, 2008

bah humbug

i have been trying not to whinge about christmas and trying to find my own peace with it, but really, im over it. on two fronts - family, and consumerism.

i dont have a close family. this year i have an in-law family to deal with, which includes a lot of kids. we entertained some of them here yesterday and are doing so again tonight. most of the time they are good fun, but i do find it hard work. i find being pleasant for hours at a time around most people really hard work. im tired already.

then we have a drive to queensland to see my dad to whom i am not close really but it seems like the right thing to do. for whom, i wonder? for what purpose? out of misplaced guilt for time lost that will never come back? in a pathetic attempt to recreate some sense of family where there is none, and hasnt been for many decades?

so the whole family thing rings really hollow with me, and attempts to redefine it just seem silly this year, for some reason. it just doesnt sit well.

and the consumerism. good lord. did someone mention there was an economic meltdown, or do we just continue merrily like lemmings until we have really fallen over the edge of the cliff and there is no one else to blame? i saw a bit of ellen today. she is doing this christmas giveaway where she gives stuff to her audience. clothes and diamonds and electronics. does she stop to think about the children who slaved to dig up those diamons, to sew those clothes? her audience sure dont, they jump and scream and some of them cry like something important just happened. its disgusting. ellen, where is my world peace? my end to hunger and poverty and oppression? oh what, it costs too much? silly me.

so you know, im over it. call me scrooge, whatever.

k xx

Saturday, December 13, 2008


its back! my reading mojo that is. and i have christmas to thank. let me explain.

i hate christmas shopping, usually because people are so bloody rude, and because i stress out too much about getting the right thing. this year i have children to buy for, long lost in-law nieces (9 and 10) and a nephew (16), and in-law step-children? (i cant explain the nature of that relationship, too complicated) twin boys (10) and a most unusual girl (11). trent has taken the latter out today to buy her a drum kit. he was in a band once, as a drummer not a musician (haha) but her mum is paying for that. i struggled long and hard with what to buy all these kids - what do you get kids who already have all the toys? i have this thing about kids and books, that i should be the one to take responsibility for this part of their development in some way, so i spent a long time poring over the volumes available. eventually they all got something, but i walked out of that book store with nothing for myself. i havent bought myself a fiction book in the longest time, but i noticed some very attractive titles while there, and later that night, trent and i went out for dinner at the latest sensation and stopped by kinokunya on our way there. i picked up a few things:

the top two were only $9 for both, and i have read 'what maisie knew' already, but could easily go there again, and i looooooooved the movie of atonement and from what i hear this is his best book in ages, and the road, well i love cormac mccarthy and havent read this one yet, and the steve toltz? rave reviews, shortlisted for the booker, very funny beginning. thats one for the week of christmas itself when we will be in queensland visiting my dad and wondering what the hell we drove all that way to sweat in front of the aircon for. at any rate, i was very pleased to have felt the urge to want to buy books that are somewhat more substantial than pictures of socks, or lace knitting charts.

i also appear to have some gardening mojo. i never thought i did. i am not a tender by nature. i shove them in and wait for something to happen and wonder why they get covered in pests or wilt away. most of the things i planted in the pots however are taking off. one rocket plant is a bit browny and the coriander is not growing because its been too bloody wet, believe it or not, but last week i staked and fed the tomatoes and this morning i discovered this:

yes! a tomato! this is a normal big tomato, the cherry toms also have three or four fruit on them:

the roma hasnt flowered yet but its growing, and i just fed it again now, so im sure it will in time. i am quite excited about this small event.

i am also a bit excited about my lace knitting mojo. not that i am some kind of expert, but last night i finished the first border and turned it to knit the body of the scarf, in the wonderful elongated stitch pattern. i turned the corner no problem but the pattern said to put that last cast off stitch onto a stitch holder and then put it back on the needle after you had picked up all the straight edge stitches, but i didnt see why that was necessary (it would have meant cutting the yarn anyway, why would i do that?) so maybe i finished on the wrong side or something, but i just turned the work 90 degrees, keeping the last cast off stitch on the needle and picked up the rest of them as i was supposed to. it looks fine, and worked fine, so yet again i learn that the pattern is not the word of god and i will not be struck down if i deviate from it in some way. anyway, here it is as i start moving up the body:

there are a few little mistakes but nothing that affects the overall look and that wont block out, and i wont repeat them when i get to the other border, and i am really pleased with it. it LOOKS victorian, if you know what i mean!

anyway, now i have presents to wrap. hope you are all having a good weekend.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

happy amazon dance

is there any more joyful symbol than this:

or any more joyful sight than this at your door when you get home from work:

and you do a little happy dance because you know exactly what it is and you only ordered it 2 weeks ago and the estimated date of arrival was january 6 and here it is a whole month ahead of schedule! so you take it inside and open it up and think what is this? the new bubble wrap? please!

but it doesnt matter because its what under the plastic that counts:

yes folks thats right, my very own copy of victorian lace today. more happy dance. i dont think ive ever been as enarmoured of a knitting book as i am of this one - history, patterns AND techniques all in the one beautiful volume. i am pretty sure i want to knit about 90% of the things in here. i am already working on two, victorian ruby, and the weldon's wide and handsome border scarf, and i have yarn for a melon shawl and am currently stalking some black silk blend for a myrtle leaf shawl. will it never end? no it wont. although the weldon scarf is now nearly at the end of the second chart repeat of the first border:

one more repeat to go then i switch to the body. this is taking a while as there are only so many minutes in the day of optimal lace knitting time given the high concentration factor required.

and arent those sunnyboys multitalented little things. do you have one yet?! i think i need another.....

k xx

Monday, December 08, 2008

our sunday tradition

since we moved, trent and i have developed a new sunday evening tradition, when we are home, which means going down to dee why (about 10 minutes drive away) for fish and chips for dinner. we have found an excellent take away shop, where you can pick the sort of fish you want, and how you want it cooked, and we go across the road and sit on benches looking at the ocean. i am quite taken with dee why, its got a really nice set up and there are always people out and about, walking, picnicking, kids playing ball:

it doesnt feel pretentious, like so many of sydneys beaches are. and every time we have been it has been windy and cloudy and quite cool, which is weird, but makes for good photos (warning, more flora and fauna shots to follow!). here is the southern point of the beach walk:

and the view across to long reef:

there are crabs:

and pelicans:

and very impressive cliffs with houses perched right on them.

i am not allowed to blog about how this is where trent spent the first 6 years of his life and how many fond memories of the area he has, so i wont, i will just post this photo instead:

we spent most of the rest of yesterday digging out lantana and making numerous trips to the tip (sigh), thankfully it was somewhat cooler than saturday, but i got no knitting done at all! i finished sock number one of the sweetie pie socks on saturday night - it is a very multicultural sock, having a german heel and a french toe:

i did a single purl stitch on the side of the foot every second row the whole way down, including purling the decreases at the toe, just to give it some detail to try and match the purls in the heel, and i am quite taken with the seam stitch down the back of the heel, interestingly. at first i didnt like it, but its grown on me, and i am pretty sure i am going to do all of my plain sock heels this way from now on.

now i need to get back to some serious lace work, so i have something more interesting to post!

k xx

Saturday, December 06, 2008

fauna and flora

at the risk of stating the obvious, goddamn its hot here today. i went to the shops early and it was 30C at 10am. it looked like bushfire weather, and im sure theres going to be many more days like that over the next few months. this photo really doesnt pick up the orangey haze:

but lets just agree it was hot. i had some gardening to do, and normally i avoid the heat like the plague, but i really want my pots to thrive, so i gathered my tools (yes i went to bunnings by myself, and yes i also went to bakers delight):

i lathered up and set to tending, staking, and putting some basil in pots. i stopped for a while to watch a wedge-tailed eagle circle above, just slowly going round and round, maybe looking for rabbits, or snakes.

i have seen one shed skin, only small, and some plumbers who were here last week reckon they saw a red bellied black snake. i am a little dubious, but the dogs know there are snakes about. its a little freaky. anyway, here are the pots now, complete with basil.

today they got a drink of seasol, some garlic spray, some tomato food, and a good dusting, i am not entirely sure the pots are pest free although a golden orb spider faithfully builds her beautiful web above the pots every night. so far most things are growing, tho some of the coriander has gone yellow (too much water?) and the rocket browned off in parts. but there are little flowers on some of the tomatoes, and this is still really an experiment, i dont know what will really work here yet. the lettuce are good tho:

i am still experimenting with socks too. bells noted that i frog a lot, and i do if i really cant get away with it. complicated lace that was really hard and is only a small mistake i can let slide, but something that youre going to wear, well it has to be right really. i did frog the picot socks completely and have restarted, they are humming along:

the picot cuff has come up great, and the eyelets are for a thin red satin ribbon. i gave up on the purl inset down the sides but i have since realised that i did it wrong, i need to only purl every second row. d'oh. but they have a lovely german heel which doesnt show up well in this photo:

and i am adding a string of purls (haha) all the way down the side of the foot just to give it some detail to try and match the picot edge (so on every second round, needles 1 and 3 have a purl one stitch in from the instep stitches if that makes sense). anyway, the colour is gorgeous.

i want to get this one sock finished so i can go back to my lace, but its too hot to concentrate on anything other than socks today. i am also a little distracted because i have just been offered a full time research management job at my old uni, which is very attractive, but means leaving my little history job, and i feel bad about doing that....but i will only take the job if we can arrange telecommuting cos im not driving 2 hours each way every day, so negotiations should commence on monday. will keep you posted.

did i mention its hot?

k xx

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

a handy little....

...female dog. my possum, that is.

at least, thats what the farm boys say whenever they see her work. they use the word starting with b. sounds rude, but she is. handy, that is. as i have mentioned before, occasionally me and misspossum go off and run around a paddock after some sheep. we got into it because she is a working dog, a koolie, not a border collie, the oldest type of sheep working dog in australia. we got her as a pup from a farm, to do flyball with, but she was mental and we had no idea what to do with her, so we went to see some people who taught us how to work with a working dog. a few years later, and trent runs her in flyball, where she is anchor dog (the last one, who brings it home) for one of the fastest teams in the country. in fact, i think at the moment they are the fastest, but these things change quickly.

and i do the sheep thing with her - i have done a yard dog trial or two but i get very nervous and am not one for competition. i love the practise, and we are now very good. but goddamn, i really get sick of dog people. like, people with dogs who do organised sports with them etc. usually women who have no control over the other things in their life, they are competitive and bitchy and judgemental and arrogant. they live in the city and wear rm williams, and think they are cool, but really they are twits. i have to work very hard to put them out of my mind or misspossum and i wouldnt be having the fun that we do.

anyway, in between turns about the paddock on the weekend, i decided the sweetie pie socks werent working. they were too big, and the purls down the side just looked like really big ladders (which of course they had been designed to avoid!) so it went ribbit, and they have become instead the standard blackdogknits picot eyelet socks, complete with eyelets for ribbon:

they are still going to get a german heel tho.

also moving along nicely is the weldons scarf from vlt, this is the first chart repeat (42 rows):

with two more repeats to do before turning 90 degrees and knitting a long dropped stitch body, and then turning again for the other end border. this whole process seems like quite a challenge but i am excited about it. it might look a bit manky here, and i do not deny there may be one or two little extra holes *cough* but when it is blocked it will look just fine im sure.

nothing else interesting happened overnight.

k xx