Saturday, April 04, 2009
come on over, all previous posts and comments have been moved there.
comments on all posts on this blog have been closed. please leave comments on the new one.
Friday, April 03, 2009
i think i am experiencing a bit of e-world over-exposure. a few months ago i started facebooking, and more recently got on the twitter band wagon. i very quickly set my facebook settings so that no one can search for me (in other words, i can only add people i WANT to see me) and i am ok with how thats working, but the last few days i have been twitter spammed. i started following the prime minister kevin07, and within about 10 minutes i had all these people start following me, including the liberal party. what the?! i blocked them all, including the one that was just a link to an online casino site. ok i can block them, but the fact that people can set up their twitter to automatically follow someone who starts following someone else is just stupid. and eerie. what sort of world is it that you want to read updates about people you dont even know? what sort of person is it that needs to accumulate followers like the toys out of a happy meal, plastic and meaningless? that is NOT social networking, or whatever you want to call it.
but i dont see the blog thing as social networking, for me. i started this blog when i moved to canberra from wollongong and knew no one. all my friends were still in wollongong and sydney and i was lonely and at home working on a phd. when i started going to canberra SnBs i heard that some people had these knit blog things, and i thought that would be a good way for me to tell the people i had left behind what was going on with me. so i blogged my knitting but i blogged my life as well.
this tendency has come back to bite a couple of times. once i blogged something about a dog competition and got a nasty comment from a fellow-competitor. i changed my comment settings. recently, i blogged about another dog competition and had part of my text taken out of context (no permission no credit) and used to start a debate on RiotACT where i was villified by people i didnt know for comments i had made in the context of a blog NOT in the context of starting a debate on RiotACT. that whole episode was very distressing, not so much because of what was done but because of the rationale that was used that it was ok. that is, my blog was public and therefore 'fair game'. technically speaking correct. ethically speaking, low. lazy journalism at best.
i have however, always been aware of the paradox of public diary keeping. because this blog really has become a kind of diary. now i have moved away from canberra as well and left behind all my friends there, i feel the need to stay connected more than ever. time poor and chained to a desk, blogs, facebook and twitter are all good ways to stay in touch with the people i care about. so for me they are friendship tools.
but they are not this for everyone. for some they seem to often be a means of taking pot shots at others and hiding behind so-called 'anonymity' when we all know what they really mean. they can be tools of one-up-manship and name dropping and creation of false personas with hidden agendas. this is me being 'half-glass-empty' and focusing only on the negative, when there are real and genuine positives, i know that.
still, they give me pause for thought. i am not sure anymore how much to share. if i were to focus only on knitting, then posts would be few and far between because i am so bloody slow. and i like other peoples blogs that dont just talk about knitting. so i tell more than that, and sometimes more than i should, because thats who i am.
but a blog is not who we are really are. to judge people from what they put into 30kb posts is to make a serious error of judgement. im sure we're all guilty of it, im sure i have been. but i dont really want to stop blogging. i get so much out of it, from doing it, and from other people doing it, that i can put up with the other stuff. its just tiresome, that wherever there is human nature, there is 'other stuff'.
i dont know, maybe i need to quit the facebook and twitter instead. maybe i just need a new template.
or maybe we just all need to go back to letter writing and phone calls.
anyway, thanks for reading!
Tuesday, March 31, 2009
they give you some idea of what i managed to cram into a few days!
Monday, March 30, 2009
24 hours on a plane makes my back hurt. my knees also hurt and i have a blackened toe nail, as if a blood vessel burst. movies arent quite as good on 7 inch screens. its surprising how humid sydney is, even just after 10 days. the crap coffee at sydney airport at 730 this morning was better than just about any other coffee i had in the entire UK, apart from at flat white in soho (thanks shelley!). trents hair has grown. he swore at me on the mobile within 5 minutes of me being home because i got cranky with him for not being right there where i was at arrivals. so things are all normal there. i didnt forget how to drive, tho i was a bit erratic on the harbour bridge just now (trent had to go to work poor thing). jem nearly wet himself when he saw me, possum just rolled over for a tummy rub. the water pressure here is great. so is fresh white bread toasted with vegemite. i have 94 posts on bloglines to read and i think some sleeping to do, so this is just a teaser. there will be more, complete with photos, later. maybe tomorrow.
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
but i am glad to be going. dont get me wrong, i love it here, its the most amazing city i have ever seen. its about a GAZILLION times bigger than sydney. for example, i just caught the bus back here from oxford st. it took as long to do 2 blocks as it takes to do circular quay to central. but it doesnt stop there, it just keeps going and going, with more shops and more streets, and more people than can possible live in one place. its just all crazy insane with people and buses and taxis and noise! i am looking forward to my two hour train trip to cardiff just for some peace and quiet. i am also hoping cardiff is considerably smaller.
i am sore all over from walking, i havent walked so much in three days for a very long time, and the jet lag has been bad, i feel asleep the first day i got here at 4 in the afternoon and woke up at 1am, then slept again till 5. last night i did from 8pm to 4am, so im hoping i can hold out a bit later tonight and get a more normal sleep pattern happening, before i get back on the plane and screw it up again entirely. its much worse going in the opposite direction i know, so im not looking forward to that.
but i am looking forward to getting home and seeing my boy and my puppies and blogging properly all the funny things that have happened and the amazing museums and all the yarn (and the books, oh god the books) i have bought so far. like the rowan, the manos silk, the wensleydale, the sublime, the debbie bliss, the quivit. no its not all for me. and i havent even been to colinette yet!
more to follow
Friday, March 20, 2009
well not really, i am actually going for work in the form of a conference and meetings in cardiff, but that starts wednesday. before then i am going to try and see some of london. i am staying at a little place in bloomsbury, just near the british museum, which is appropriate given my interest in all things virginia woolf. i arrive sunday morning british time (gaining a day on the way) and have plans to walk around and check out some of the shops etc along oxford st (liberty, john lewis), and then pop into the brit, and maybe the victoria and albert museum, and then take the tube to waterloo and hang out at iknit, maybe visiting the tate modern and the globe afterwards, crossing the river on the millenium bridge to see st pauls. followed by a collapse.
then i catch the train to cardiff, for meetings and networking and then a workshop presentation at the biggest nursing research conference in the world, being held in this rather swish building, complete with swish conference dinner. then on friday i am hoping to hire a car and drive up to this little town, which is the home of colinette, and roll around in yarn there for a while (i wonder if this is where dafydd lives?!). it is about a 3 hour drive from cardiff apparently, but seems a good way to see the countryside. i will have seen enough of cities by then i think.
i have just about everything ready, workshop prepared, money organised (not without some hiccups there), tickets, etc, and you may have noticed that the suitcase is not quite full. of course there a few more things to go in there, but not much, because i intend to be bringing a few things back. nothing for me of course! also, i have decided not to risk the knitting needle thing and will settle for some good movies and a book instead. and hopefully some sleep. it is kind of weird to think that this time tomorrow i will be in the sky somewhere headed to the other side of the world.
see you when i get back!
Tuesday, March 17, 2009
i attempted to make one of my christmas presents up as i went, like actually designing my own pattern. i wanted to call them sweetie pie socks, because they were to have pretty purl details and be made out of a red called vatican pie. it didnt quite work, so i ended up resorting to an old favourite, the picot eyelet pattern (ribbon still to come):
i did add a few extras, like a german heel with the two purl stitches at each end of the heel flap rows, and the purling for gusset decreases.
i also did purl decreases on the toe, but i made one serious mistake with these socks, which was gift one of them with an IOU attached, without taking notes about what i did. so i am not entirely confident that they match. i thought i did a french toe on the other one, so i tried it again here, but from memory. i dont think its quite the same. however, i tell myself, this adds to their charm.
and of course, you cant go wrong with socks made from colinette jitterbug in 'vatican pie' which must be one of the most amazing sock yarns, and brilliant colours, ever. i will be at a conference next week a mere 3 hours drive away from the home of colinette, and i am determined to get there. its the same thing as being in rome and having to see st peters yes?
at any rate, i am going to go back to the drawing board on this design. i really like the effect purling can have on plain socks in yarn like the colinette or koigu, with the really tight spin they have. purl details really stand out and make the colours 'pop', as people say. i wanted to have a plain picot edge, no eyelets but a row of purls instead, then a panel of purls down the side of the leg, that matched the purls in the heel.
a very long flight on a very large plane seems the right place to attempt such a thing. i wonder if i can get an upgrade....
Thursday, March 12, 2009
they are fantastic colours, made from parachute silk, so they are actually really tough and fully washable, and you can tie the handles together. they are meant to be shopping bags but i think it will do just fine for a project bag. lily is happy.
cobblestone may have a bag to itself but it is not otherwise a happy project. look closely:
i was knitting merrily along on it the other night and felt something rough in my hand, looked down and found this:
really bad form. not happy jo sharp.
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
seriously, i am done with grant application software.
i did have a good start to the day tho, and i thought i would share it. you have seen lots of pictures of the amazing view over the back yard, so i thought i would take you on my walk around the block this morning.
possum and i set off around 720am, me in my new shoes:
these are adidas runners ( i think i might have heard of that brand before - ha ha injoke). i got them on special for $80. they are so white they glow. they have a silver bit on them that might make me go faster. i plan to be wearing them a lot around london, so they need to get worn in first.
we start by negotiating the driveway:
and then turn right onto the main road that links our village with the next one. then there is just bushland:
we walk up here for a while, trying to avoid the people in large expensive 4 wheel drives doing significantly more than the speed limit. there are lots of horsey people around here. i am not a big fan of horsey people, but i do like horses - this place is next door:
then we turn left:
and go down a hill where there are more horsey places and a very cloudy sky:
we turn left again at a cross roads and head down this hill:
we had 80 mm of rain here on sunday, and the ground is very mushy and there are mini waterfalls running under the road:
then we go up this very steep hill:
i already have a sore calf muscle. this doesnt help, but it gets the heart racing. then we turn left again into my favourite street around here, but i took a photo while walking so its blurry. der.
i love the canopy of overhanging trees. there is another small hill here which used to hurt but doesnt anymore (a good sign), and then we turn left one more time back onto the main road and into the home stretch. we are the second set of bins on the right (try squinting):
then we turn right into the driveway:
and we're all glad to be home, about 40 minutes later. its a big block.
Monday, March 09, 2009
but something feels weird about seasonal change this year. i think i am feeling the inevitability of it, that despite all our efforts to the contrary time continues to slip through our fingers, the one thing about life on earth that humanity can not control. i used to feel like i had lots of it, and, like most kids, couldnt wait to be grown up. now i would gladly slow things down. a lot. not that i am grown up (growing up appears to be a never ending process of continually coming to terms with how much you cant control!), its just that it seems sometimes as though i am waiting for the next thing to happen, rather than just living. this feeling has become more pronounced with a full time job where weekends have become precious commodities and i say things like 'thank god its friday'. lots of times over the past 10 years i didnt even know what day of the week it was! now i have calendars and diaries and meetings planned months in advance and its very weird.
as a sign of the changing seasons, the tomato plants started to wither up and die. admittedly it wasnt just the weather, although extreme flucations in temperature probably didnt help. i watered these buggers religiously but i think the nutrients in the soil were still deficient, despite the frequent addition of worm wee:
so i pulled them all out over the weekend and am going to plant more sturdy herbs, rather than vegetables, in these pots. i think vegies need more room for root systems. i did harvest plenty of fruit tho, a lot of which will be ripening on the kitchen window sill:
and now the pots will look like this for a while till i get back from england and can tend to them properly again:
speaking of england, less than 2 weeks to go. our workshop for the conference is nearly all planned, and i found out last week that some people i have written about in another paper will be there, so i am making plans to interview them as well. meanwhile i will be doing some running around this week getting the bits and pieces i need to be able to drive a car through wales to that very important factory. i am excited about going, but i must confess that i really dont travel all that well. the plane thing is fine, i quite like flying, but i do get freaked out being in big cities i dont know. london looks kind of scary. at least this time i wont have to deal with the language thing. it was ok in italy because i can speak it a bit and the italians are mostly nice people who will try and work out how to communicate. the less said about communicating in amsterdam the better as i have nothing nice to say and will likely offend someone. mostly tho, i just like being at home. i miss my boy and my puppies, and i dont like being in new places alone when i would rather share the joy and excitement with someone. and i feel guilty for going overseas three times without him. but we are planning a big trip to the US later this year, so i will try and not have too much fun this time around. i cant lie about looking forward to the potential stash enhancement, however!
on the knitting front, i have been working mostly on lily and the victorian ruby, of which i have now finished the first border and have changed direction to knit the body. when i ripped it back and restarted at a certain row, something wrong happened that i didnt notice till it was too late, but i can block it out so im letting it slide (thats one thing that never changes, n'est pas?):
and lily grows slowly:
last night while watching 'lost in austen' (yes please), i put all the bits on their separate waste yarns ready to start sleeves etc and then remembered reading how someone, knitting something like this, figured out how to continue with the body and to come back and do sleeves later. advice please!
meanwhile, i have to redye my hair because weird grey bits are sticking out everywhere again (ok, i dont HAVE to, i CHOSE to) and i have upgraded my skin cream to the 'firming' kind. sigh. in other (french) words, plus ca change, plus c'est la meme chose*.
* the more things change, the more they stay the same
Monday, March 02, 2009
after a while of scraping through the dirt possum started limping and then we saw that she had scraped the skin off her dew claw pad. poor baby. we taped her up but it didnt help and she ran a lot slower so we lost races we would normally win. we ended up having to pull her out so she wouldnt get hurt worse, and we finished only third when we were pretty sure of a first or second. we did one good time, but if they dont fix that surface for next year i think we wont go. the bad part of the weekend was made worse by the fact that we, the flyballers, were not given parking permits into the exhibitors part of the showground and would have had to pay show rates for parking. this didnt apply to people doing agility, or with the pretty show dogs. (what is it with the human race, that people always have to JUDGE someone else, and what they do, as not worthy somehow?) so we parked out on the street and came back to find a window smashed and the car broken into. we lost important stuff we probly shouldnt have left in the car, and yet again i am left wondering at the complete deadshits human beings can be at times. especially canberra bogans.
i also had the joy of having some idiot woman from some other club competing in the flyball yell at me for not 'stewarding' (ie help out in the ring during racing). i dont run a dog, i just help my husbands team. i am not even a member of the afa. i dont need to steward if i dont want to. and i dont want to. right now, i dont want to go near flyball ever again because of stupid people like her, and the bad losers in other teams, and the internal politics that continues to leave a very bad taste in my mouth.
i understand that humans are just human, you get them in a group and all kinds of weird shit happens. but i am getting downright annoyed at being dragged into squabbles that have nothing to do with me (and not just in flyball), at being told lies and manipulated and played because other people need to make themselves feel better, or need to feel like victims in this world. i dont care if not everyone likes me, i probably dont like them either, but seriously, build a bridge people, and leave me out of it. /rant.
there were goodies to be had at the canberra show however, i just didnt get a chance to take pictures. like bells, i enjoyed the german sausage, but i thought the numbers were down and some of the usual selling points werent there (eg, no opal lady). i am pretty sure tho that i got teary when i saw the beautiful things in glass cabinets that my clever friends had made that now wore ribbons, and i made a resolution to work really carefully on something of my own to enter in a show next year. im pretty sure someone else agreed to do the same, yes?! it was very inspiring, and im very proud to know the people who made such lovely things. we had a lovely dinner together with other lovely friends and partners after the show, even though i nearly fell asleep in my chocolate mousse parfait, but i enjoyed my mini impromptu snb, and am thankful for the help i got with the ruby problem i have.
the ruby problem you ask? here it is and see if you can spot it:
no its not a test. apart from a problem in the very early rows that i was willing to let slide, i had a pattern reading problem, so that instead of doing chart a rows 1-46 then rows 15-58, i did chart a rows 1-58 all at once. woops. i had to rip it back a bit, and i thought i had fixed it but i hadnt. you know when you look at something and think about something so hard and so long it just blurs? i couldnt for the life of me see what i needed to do. jane saw the problem in about 5 seconds flat. i have now ripped it back again and restarted from row 15 again, and i think there might be a minor hang over problem that you will get when you rip lace with no lifeline, but i can live with it. i now have only 4 works in progress
(gratuitious shot of lovely lily in zara there), including nearly finishing the second of the vatican pie socks (colinette, how do i love thee, let me count the ways). speaking of which i have been trying in vain to figure out how to work in a day trip up to llanfaire caereinion to hang out at the colinette factory during the very important conference i am going to in cardiff, but its in the middle of nowhere, with no direct train line, and i dont have an international drivers licence with which to hire a car....sigh. i shall have to make do with yarn stores in london (only 3 weeks to go!!). its a hard life....
ETA: sorry about the rant, i am not very good at self-censorship! its not aimed at anyone in particular, just the world in general :)
Thursday, February 26, 2009
the point of this rant about summer is that its over, which means the 'long lacy summer' is over. i have been a bad KAL-er, as i always am, because life (and other knitting) seems to get in the way. i have made very little progress on the myrtle leaf shawl that bells and i started on australia day:
its a difficult knit in terms of concentration factor and i havent been up to it with the new job and working out timetables etc. and then there was lily. i did really itch to do some lace lately so i went back to victorian ruby which has a rest row, and a knit one at that. nice.
this yarn is jade sapphire cashmere and is the most beautiful thing i have ever held, i wish i could explain how soft it is.
but i did finish one lacy thing this long summer, and its a gift. it was went to be a christmas present for george, it was finished a couple of weeks ago and finally got blocked this week. it is just lovely:
it is not perfect, and my blocking leaves something to be desired, but this yarn (knittery slim socks in merlot) has lent itself quite well to the idea of being a scarf instead of socks. it has a lovely silky touch to it that works really well with the fantastic pattern that is the 'weldons wide and handsome border' from victorian lace today.
speaking of socks, my IK Spring arrived yesterday and i was flicking through some kind of nice patterns (probably nothing i will make) when i saw the most interesting thing in the magazine - an ad. not just any old ad tho, oh no, it was an ad for a book, a whole book of cookie a sock patterns.
it comes out in april. i am sooo there.
Sunday, February 22, 2009
ok, it wasnt so little. it contained rather a lot of malabrigo:
the green is for renee and the rest is for me.
these 4 skeins of lace weight are in paris night colourway and are for the shetland tea shawl from 'a gathering of lace' if i ever manage to finish the myrtle leaf, or the victorian ruby. (i am a bit obsessed with lily at the moment but am missing the lace, i might do some today). the paris night colours are perfect, not quite black, or grey, or blue, or purple, but little bits of all of them at the same time. scrummy.
and two more velvet grapes in worsted to go with the 4 i got for my birthday. this is enough now to make a leisl for me. if i ever finish lily, and trents cobblestone! so much knitting, so little time.
oh, and whats that in the background? sam norton knight tackling my yarn, as the waratahs beat the chiefs. two from two, happy about that.
anyway, all this yarn fondling made me want to do some baking, so i set up the ingredients in the kitchen and set to work:
the result was 5 cakes:
2 of the velvet grapes for leisl, one socks that rock in atomic for the blackrose socks (i only have one pair of socks that are nearly finished on the needles, must remedy that situation!), plus the koigu for plain socks, and one skein of the paris night just to see what it looked like. delicious!
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
its raining here still, and its lovely really. this is such a gorgeous campus, here is the view from my window (i am staying at the unilodge).
oh, and i might be knitting a bit. i cast on lily mark two in the filatura di crosa zara and its motoring along:
i love this pattern, so easy. no sewing. this might be a record knit for me, timewise. and did i mention i am in love with the zara? i may never knit with anything else again....
and before i left i managed to finish the second of bells' christmas monkey socks. the colours are not great here as it was cloudy but the cherry tree hill sock yarn in serengeti is MADE for monkeys. voila:
i must end with an apology. i am not much of a blogger at the moment, obviously rather sporadic in the posting, but not great on the commenting either. a full time job may well add to the bank balance (not sure, havent been paid yet) but it definitely detracts from important blogging time. you are in my thoughts tho.
Thursday, February 12, 2009
there is also nothing quite like the horror at home grown tomatoes gone wrong - grubs did this i think:
and too much rain did this:
dont get me wrong, im not complaining about the rain, it started a couple of days ago and has been pretty constant on and off since. they are getting some of it down in the fires, and things are looking a bit greener and a bit less scary around here. the temp has dropped considerably too. i am grateful for that but the extremes are a little off-putting. it just seems very unpredictable. its freaking me out. as a kid growing up in the 70s i remember lying awake at night in real fear of the nuclear bomb. these days i am glad i dont have kids to raise in a world that sits on the brink of environmental and ecological disaster. it would be too freaky.
on the not-so-freaky side, i have started another version of the lily cardigan. i made one of these last year in a lovely possum-merino blend and it was beautiful, until i washed it, at which point the sleeves grew by about another half length and the picot edges curled up making the whole thing about half a foot shorter than it should be. ok so i exaggerate a little, but ever since i have been determined to make another one in a more structured yarn, minus the *cough* slight variations *cough cough* in the first one.
so i bought some zara specially, and swatched it two nights ago. i swatched it on 3.5mm needles because they were what i had spare (even tho the pattern says 3.75mm) and despite rather vigourous wet blocking my swatch refused to be 4x4 inches.
sigh. i do have a 3.75mm addi turbo but the cable in it really shits me because it is badly kinked, but i cast on with it last night anyway. there is a lot more room in the stitches, i can tell already it will be closer to gauge.
this is good because it means i dont have to alter the pattern or stitch count. my only concern is that its going to make a fabric that is a little bulkier than i was hoping for. i know what youre going to say. swatch it again on the right size needle. no FREAKY way. too impatient. sorry.