Sunday, January 28, 2007

Quick links

G'day all!

Does anyone local(ish) want to knit a chemo cap in memory of Marta? If you do, let me know and I'll giv eyou my addy so it can go to say the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre.

To keep you occupied whilst I am:
a) dyeing more yarn
b) killing an Argentine ant infestation*
c) pondering what to do and
d) stuffing about with some fleece to see how it spins up and the best way to spin it (so far the tender grey fleece needs to be woollen spun - it is like iron if worsted-spun)

I shall leave you some links, not one of which is a knitting link I think (I'm a poet, etc, etc)

David Eddings tried to burn his office down and darned near succeeded. Ooops.

A newish fibre newsletter site (I hope it displays better on your page - maybe you have an enormously wide monitor or a very high res screen).

A most amazing discovery - maybe cancer is caused by altered cell metabolism....

One of my favourite pics of Comet McNaught (you B5 fans out there should be able to tell why!) You can find more pics here - gosh there are some nice ones! Ah one day we will have a camera that can take good night shots.

Oh, a knitting link! I stole this from someone but I can't remember who. It is on decreases. THere's plenty more tips and videos on that site - look around! I bet everyone else already knows all about it ;-)

What if 42,000 Americans died in terrorist attacks? How about that many in cars each year?

This is my sort of ping pong! I've never been good at it so that table should be a help!


*Argentine ants are introduced and the bluggers are extremely annoying. They form super colonies with many queens. They get into the house and raid the sticky stuff (jam, honey, sugar, biscuits, etc), they'll also enjoy the odd bit of meat and they attack native ants. We have at least three species of native ant on our block and we do not want them killed off cos we accidentally brought AAs with us when we moved.

Vale Marta

Alas, no g'day today!

How many of you had the pleasure of visiting Marta's Yarns in Malvern East? (I still call it Caulfield cos that is the station across the road.) How many of you gazed in wonder at how much could be crammed into a little shop? How much colour? How much inspiration? It was truly an Aladdin's Cave. Then there was Marta, always enthused about colour and helping with great ideas and dyeing some luscious yarn up....

(A bag of Marta's rainbow mohair, a gift from Peeve two birthdays ago)

Well, alas, Marta is no more. Her shop had been closed since October or so due to illness. I wish I had known she had cancer. The clues were there. The tiredness, the sadness, the knowledge she had too much yarn and not enough time to dye it, the occasional absences, the puffiness of her face sometimes, even her marvellous wild multicoloured hair suddenly became neatly coiffed, though still an unnatural auburn. I just thought it was a passing thing, maybe depression associated with menopause because my Mum said many of the same things, though Mum's hair never became neatly coiffed suddenly. That was the give away - the hair. Why would wild multicoloured locks become heavy, one-coloured, sleek tresses?

(My first wheel - an old Ashford Traditional)

I wish I had gotten to know you better, Marta. You found me my first spinning wheel and I showed you my first ratty skeins. I have gotten better. I wish you could get better. I bought small balls of your yarn, all I could afford at the time, and treasured your thin and thin multicoloured yarn.

I dyed up some more yarn today. I think you would approve of it. I think I will call the colourway "Marta" because it will always remind me of you.

Like all those whose lives you touched, I will miss you. My sympathies go to your family - their loss is immeasurable.

RIP Marta Cantos.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

On Australia Day and dyeing

G'day all!

Today's post is brought to you by several dictionaries of Aussie slang. I think some of you overseas types might need it as I really don't know which colloquialisms you will know. Maybe even some Aussies might need it - we do use different words for things. How many of you say "togs?" What about "cozzie" or "bathers"? As a Victorian, I say togs or bathers. What is the difference between a scallop and a potato cake?*

It is Australia Day today. Today is the day that we celebrate what it is to be an Australian, and the day that Captain Cook planted a flag on the shores of Botany Bay and claimed this country for the King Of England, whoever that was on the day. No mind that the Frogs and the Dutch and Portuguese had already been here. The Frogs were apparently camped on the other side of Botany Bay only a few days earlier than Cook and were there at the same time. They obviously didn't think much of it. If they had, we would've been Frogs not Poms. The Portuguese and Dutch had been visiting the north west of Australia for years - there's apparently even cats to prove it. Yep, ships' cats got jack of being on sailing ships and escaped onto the mailand - the genetics of cats in the northwest and deserts of Australia indicates they are not the same as the cats brought with the English, or cats that live in Asia.

(Corymbia ficifolia. I so lust after one of these for the front yard. You need to buy ones that are known to be red flowering as they can come in red, white, pink or shades in between. Someone worked out how to graft them - gums/eucalypts are notoriously hard to graft. I want one of the dwarf grafted ones.)

Edited to add a comment from a different Lynne:
Just one thing, please take it in the spirit intended (I wanted to email but couldn't find a contact address) - it was Captain Arthur Philip (leader of the First Fleet) that raised the British flag on 26 January 1788 in Sydney Cove - Captain Cook was already dead by then and Botany Bay wasn't suitable for a settlement (no fresh water).

I stand corrected - my history is my dodgiest subject, well maybe apart from physics... 8-)

I digress. I dunno what I am digressing from. I am not going to get into native title stuff - lets just say the original inhabitants of this land, and plenty of their number remain, were jibbed so you can't really blame them if they don't think much of Australia Day. I won't get into politics much either except to say that Aussies regard themselves as egalitarian and willing to give anyone a fair go - so how about it, government? Givem a fair go. Look to your responsibilities to future Australians.

(There is a native bee on one of the flowers. I was delighted to see it. At least I presume it is a native bee. There are swarms of blasted feral European honebees around and they outcompete the little, or in this case goodly sized, solitary native bees. Each one of those flowers is about 2.5cm/an inch across the "petals.")

Heh. For some reason the national anthem and a very well know Australian poem come to mind. Compare and contrast:

The love of field and coppice,
Of green and shaded Lanes,
Of ordered woods and gardens,
Is running in your veins;
Strong love of grey-blue distance,
Brown streams and soft, dim skies -
I know but cannot share it,
My love is otherwise.

I love a sunburnt country,
A land of sweeping plains,
Of ragged mountain ranges,
Of drought and flooding rains,
I love her far horizons,
I love her jewel sea,
Her beauty and her terror -
The wide brown land for me.

The tragic ring-barked forests
Stark white beneath the moon,
The sapphire-misted mountains,
The hot gold hush of noon.
Green tangle of the brushes
Where lithe lianas coil,
An orchids deck the tree-tops
And ferns the crimson soil.

Core of my heart, my country!
Her pitiless blue sky,
When sick at heart around us
We see the cattle die -
But then the grey clouds gather
And we can bless again
The drumming of an army,
The steady, soaking rain.

Core of my heart, my country!
Land of the Rainbow Gold,
For flood and fire and famine,
She pays us back threefold;
Over the thirsty paddocks,
Watch, after many days,
The filmy veil of greenness
That thickens as we gaze.

An opal-hearted country,
A wilful, lavish land -
All you who have not loved her,
You will not understand -
Though Earth holds many splendours,
Wherever I may die,
I know to what brown Country
My homing thoughts will fly.

(Dorothea McKellar's "My Country." The bolded quote is the one most often quoted in Oz. Gosh, I go a bit teary reading it. How pathetic!)

Now here is the national anthem, "Advance Australia Fair":

Australians all let us rejoice,
For we are young and free;
We've golden soil and wealth for toil,
Our home is girt by sea;
Our land abounds in Nature's gifts
Of beauty rich and rare;
In history's page, let every stage
Advance Australia fair!
In joyful strains then let us all sing,
"Advance Australia fair!"

(First verse of the national anthem and the one most commonly used. For the rest of them, go here and scroll down. Be afraid, be very afraid - white Australia rules! Note that what is the third of the original verses is now the only one usually acknowledged as any other verse of Advance Australia Fair. Also note that Waltzing Matilda, linked on that same page, has been put forward as an alternate national anthem. Who wants a story about an itinerant (ie homeless) low skilled worker stealing a sheep and escaping the law by committing suicide as their national anthem? Maybe I am just unAustralian.)

You would really think this is a golden country from the national anthem. Treated well and in a good year, it is, but we have not treated this land well and successive droughts and salinity and soil loss etc etc are ravaging it. At least Ms McKellar's poem sums it up somewhat better.

Onto different things. Pretty things. Not that my country is ugly but these are pretty things that I made.

Sock yarn. Bright bright bright! Only three colours used to dye it. Not much green came out in these ones due to the way I lay the yarn in the pot - the blue and yellow didn't mix much.

Edited: sold! If you really liked it though I can have a ping at doing some more...

Three colours for this lot of 8 ply (DK) in beige - see how it is toned down? It has a bigger range of colours though. Interesting since it was dyed at the same time as the sock yarn.

Then there are the fancy yarns, which are meant to go together as some sort of scarf.

If you like any of them, make me an offer. If I agree to the offer, you get some nice yarn! Otherwise I'll list them next week on my yarn page. I'm also going to put up a page of spinning and fibre cos I have Too Much Stuff and not enough time to play with it all, plus I really need some extra cash at present, being unemployed and all and not being able to pursue some very interesting permanent jobs due to DH having to fly to SF for a third interview (having done so well in the second interview that he skipped the need for the usual third interview - ie no point going for permanent jobs here if we won't be here in 3 months but then again I should put in resumes for them just in case....). That is over 30 hours of flying in planes for one interview! We are going to have to plant so many things in the front yard to help offset those caron emissions....

Finally, to finish up a massive post, a poor sad cat sitting in a wheelbarrow. Obviously she was not getting enough attention...

*For those of you who remember the asterisk at the start, if you go into a fish and chip shop in NSW and ask for a scallop, you are likely to get what Victorians call a potato cake. To us a scallop is a shellfish. A potato cake is exactly that - a slice of spud dipped in batter and deep fried. However, New South Welshmen will claim that a potato cake is a hash brown (except rounded not rectangular). Don't ask me what we called grated up potato before Mcchukkas came on the scene with their American food - I don't know.


Wednesday, January 24, 2007

I dyed today

G'day all!

What interesting times we live in. Nathan has had two phone interviews with a major company. Now they want to do a face to face interview with him at their headquarters.

Do they really want to fly him to the USA for a day? It is after all a 15 or so hour flight to LA and extra to the next place, and I reckon the jetlag would be horrendous. Plus DH is 6'5" and over 100 kilos (mixing my units there - say 195cm and 240lb ;-) and finds plane travel extremely uncomfortable.

One of my heels has been sore for a while - I presume it is a heel-strike problem - but the other day I noticed that I have a swelling by my achilles tendon and soreness into my calf. Lord knows what that is. Some form of tendonitis I guess. Anyway, off to the doctor I go tomorrow cos it seems to be more sore at present. It seems to get worse when I don't wear my runners. As it is summer and has been rather sultry (until Sunday) I have not worn runners much. It certainly hurts when I accidentally kick it in bed...

I did some fab dyeing today. So pretty! No pics yet cos it is still drying and needs to be reskeined. I think some of you will be very excited by it. I know I was :-)

Knitting progress. Well I have turned the heel on the second marble arches sock. I knitted a hat from yarn that I spun at the summer school weekend at my guild. Haven't sewn the hat up yet - not really hat weather here at present. I must sew it up and then take pics. It is a little large cos my spinning and hence the gauge rather vary, depending on the fancy spinning technique used.

Has anyone seen Comet McNaught? It is visible only in the southern hemisphere now, except for its extensive tail. I'm popping outside shortly in hope of seeing it but some clouds have been rolling up from the bay and it might not be visible...


Saturday, January 20, 2007

A drive on a rainy day

G'day all!

On Saturday, Nathan and I decided to go for a nice drive to get out of the house and indeed the city. After a while urban life becomes grating and we need to get away even just for a few hours. Nathan had had his second interview with a large overseas company and was not sure he had done well. So we got in the car and I headed for the hills. Nathan has difficulty driving my little car - he barely fits in the passenger seat and adding pedals to the mix just makes it harder, so I tend to drive whenever we go places. If we have Nathan's dad's car, Nathan drives - it is good practice for him and I get lots of knitting done :-)

The sky was a bit threatening but hey, we needed to get out and about.

We ended up in a favourite location - Warburton.

We wandered along the banks of the Yarra. It looks very pretty (and we need to ignore the weeds when we wander along the paths cos noticing them spoils the prettiness). I'll let you admire the prettiness.

The boy decided he needed to do a little dancing in the rain

and I am not really superimposed on this picture. I did sidle out onto the slippery-looking rocks very carefully. I have the bad habit of savagely attacking my coccyx by finding rocks to try to break it with (I am pleased to say once I did break one rock with my backside!), though that is usually when I am on holidays with Nathan's mob.

We found a really hippy house that we thought was fantastic.

(excuse the vague fuzziness - it really started raining as we tried to get pics) All the main beams are painted, there's the ?buddhist? eye stuff happening all over it - cool, huh?

The clouds began getting quite serious and settled down on the tops of the surrounding mountains for a good long rain. As long as the catchments (about 20km north and east of Warburton) copped some, I am happy!


In case you thought I was perfect

G'day all!

Hooray, back online - we've had licorice allsorts recent - we didn't get affected by a blackout that took half of the state's power out but we had no phone and no net on Wednesday arvo/evening, then Nathan accidentally added our cable modem to the list of blocked sites on his server, which I use for my picture hosting, and it would not let me log in strangely enough, being blacklisted and all.... no picture hosting means no pics for the blog.

Anyway, I was happily knitting away the other day, finishing the main part of a Fetching for me. I had put this particular mitt away before Christmas cos I didn't need presents for me - I needed them for other people!

Here is the mitt, less the thumb.

Can you see something rather odd about the thumb insertion point? (it is to the left of the pic)

Take a closer look:

Yep, there are TWO! One in green and one in pink. LOL

Next - we go for a drive on a rainy day - yes, we had a rainy day! Only 20mm (less than an inch) but beggars can't be choosers!


Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Worsted vs woollen

G'day all!

Steenky hot here at the moment. OK, it is only 31 but it is humid and I doubt it dropped below 25 degrees overnight (yep, just checked the weather site and the closest weather station recorded a minimum of 25.4). We have massive power problems because the main transformer between us and our mates in NSW got burned out in a bushfire yesterday but the bushfire hasn't moved on much so they can't replace it. One of my friends was sitting at work yesterday afternoon with no power - no air con on a 41 degree day (that's hmm, about 107F?), no lights, no systems, except he had a laptop with wireless and for whatever reason there was a wireless connection available to him, so he was still on the net.... The wonders of modern technology!

So what that means is that I should stop blathering and get on with it cos we never know when the power will go out... As it is, for some reason my system keeps ignoring the mouse, which is MOST inconvenient since my GUI is mostly mouse driven (ie I've never had this problem before so I've never learned keyboard commands to get around it.)

I've been playing a lot with my woollen spun, and a little with worsted. I am getting better at the woollen yarns.

Here's some moorit spun worsted (left, smoothish) and woollen (right, fuzzy).

Heh. Looks like my woollen spun is better than my worsted now. Almost.

And this is some polwarth (despite what I named the file) spun worsted and woollen. The polwarth came up noice in woollen.

I've been playing with a finn suffolk cross (prepped for worsted and spun long draw like for woollen) and I reckon it would make great sock yarn spun worsted.

The other day I did a bit of dyeing. I used three colours - galah, opal and wattle (you can see them on this page), these being as close to magenta, cyan and yellow as I can get. Magenta, cyan and yellow (plus black) are classic colours used for magazine printing. From then you can get all colours - see?

Do you like the results? See how I got pretty much every colour? The bottom end of it is paler cos I deliberately set up the dyepot to have a paler end.

Oh, colours!

I admit that my knitting has been suffering cos I've been washing fleece and flicking it out and carding stuff and playing with my spinning. I think I've managed to do about 6 rows of a sock in the last 5 days. That is it!

This mouse weirdness is going to drive me INSANE(r). It just keeps stopping.

Finally we finish with a weird cloud last night at sunset. Two different levels of clouds makes for interesting colours.


Sunday, January 14, 2007

What I did on at school on the weekend

by Lynne, age *mumble*

It was bright and sunny on Saturday morning. There were really interesting clouds outside. I woke up and got out of bed and got ready to go to the handweavers and spinners' guild. I was very lucky because Chocolatetrudi and Peeve gave me a weekend of summer school classes. I got to go to school in the middle of summer!

I got to the guild rooms just in time and that was good. I was to learn worsted ("wusted", like the sauce) spinning first. Worsted yarn is flat and shows off the sheen of the wool or silk or mohair. I think worsted is quite easy. It is good for control freaks like me. It involves taking locks of fleece, flicking them out and then spinning them from the tip (or the butt - ohh I got to say butt! Butt! Butt! "But but? Motor but? I do not think I like the sound of that!") whilst squishing the new yarn down and making it flat. I found it easiest to grip the fleece with the last two fingers of my right hand whilst drafting with the left. Then we got to play with wool combs.

Wool combs are big and vicious (except for my set which are small and vicious). They want to draw blood. That is their role in things. You thought it was to comb wool but I know better. None of my group fell victim to the wool combs' lust for blood. I made a very nice top to spin up. Top is also easy to spin worsted.

I think I will be able to spin lots of worsted yarn easily. I haven't got a picture of my worsted skein because it ran away and is hiding int he loungeroom somewhere.

Then we had lunch. I forgot to say on my feedback form that half an hour for lunch may not be enough time.

Next I did woollen spinning. I think doing woollen and worsted on the one day may be Too Exciting. You don't get enough time to lay down hand/muscle memory of these two very different techniques.

We used our had cards to card up some rolags. I made much better rolags than I ever have before. I used to use too much fleece. Now I know better. Downs fleece is best for woollen spun. Downs fleece comes from meat sheep and is really tightly crimped/curled/fuzzy. I carded up some downs fleece that was washed but full of VM. I carded up some downs top. I carded up some random fleece. The random fleece spun the best, the downs fleece the worst.

The hardest part of woollen spun is mastering the long draw. I made LOTS of bad novelty yarn with lumps and bumps and bits sticking out. You want fuzzy bits all along the yarn but I don't think you want as much lumpy bumpy action as I get. I guess I have to prepare the rolags more evenly or something. I am much better at worsted. I have tried to spin about 5 lots of woollen yarn so far and none of them are good, or even necessarily woollen spun. I won't show you pictures of them either.

On the way home I took a picture of the Yarra River. You can see the city in the background.

I was very tired on Saturday night. I had to spin up two bobbins of yarn ready for class the next day. I spun some blue yarn and some pink/mauve/purple yarn. After 6 hours of spinning, I slept and slept and slept.

On Sunday I was almost late. I kept trying to do woollen spinning and failing. But on Sunday we got to do different things. First we had plying class. I thought I knew how to ply. I don't count treadles or anything, I just look at the yarn. It seems that I do know how to ply. I can navajo ply too, but not everyone in our group could. I thought this was strange cos some of them have spun yarn for many years.

We did exciting plying. We did knots

We did bullions (I like bullions)

and we did snags (not the sort you put on the barbecue)

(I like the little alien antennae sticking up there)

I was cleverer than some of the people there - having two colours meant you could see the interesting plying and also I don't spin frog hair. Some of the ladies had yarn that was so fine that when it was navajo plied, it was still barely laceweight. It is hard to see the interesting knot stuff when you can barely see the yarn.

I can see that there will be novelty yarns in my future.

Our last class was carding and blending. We used our hand cards LOTS and my shoulders got sore. We made up a plate of blends and a card of blends.

I chose red and blue (of course) for my two primary colours. We blended these 50:50 and with black, grey and white fleece. Do you like the way the colours change depending on the neutral that is blended?

Then I did a blue and white mix. Again, half and half, plus 25:75, 75:25, pure colours and "hinto" colours where a teensy bit of the other colour was added. I wish I had taken different fleece colours with me cos some people had the BEST blends.

By the time we had done 90 minutes of carding, I thought my shoulders would drop off!

All in all it was a wonderful weekend. Many thanks to my benefactors :-) I learned a LOT. I have lots more ideas for my spinning and things to make. This might not be a very good thing because I already had lots to play with and do.


Friday, January 12, 2007

A class, a class!

G'day all!

I am off to a weekend of learning about carding and spinning and stuff. I've never done a proper class in spinning (or knitting for that matter, or dyeing). I'll be doing blending for colour, worsted spinning, light and fluffy woollen spinning and plying. Each class in 2 hours long and they only allow 1/2 hour for lunch, which for me is waaay short since I either have to drive to get lunch or heat something up. Yes, microwaves are quick to heat stuff but I tend to find they don't heat evenly and much stirring and cussign is required, then they are too hot to eat for 10 minutes... I won't eat stuff that is only mouth warm - it has to be heated properly.

Peeve and chocolatetrudi gave the classes to me as a birthday present. Thanks, chaps! Twil be interesting! Wish I knew what I have to take with me though - my hand carders? My spinning wheel?

Have you been having one of *those* days? I certainly have. Little niggling annoying things - a lack of energy, lack of inspiration, going out to get certain items and not being able to buy them (one of which means I have to find an alternate source of cat food since I can't have the things starving - they would drive me INSANE(R)). An old lady walking around me as I queued and plonking her stuff on the counter to be served. She said she didn't see me - am I chopped flarn these days or some weird sales display? A place saying the plants I picked up were only 25% off not 50% off despite what the sign said. I said I would not take the plants today. Stupid people on the roads doing 65kmh in an 80 zone. I went and found me a 60 zone to drive in just so all those stupid people who do 65 everywhere, no matter whether it is a 50 60 70 or 80 zone, could drive up my clacker cos I wanted to piss them off instead of me being pissed off.

I reallllly wanted to buy something. Almost anything but since I was already disgruntled, I could not find something I really wanted to buy that was cheap enough for me to buy (I did nearly buy a bag of yarn to dye up but it was just out of my price range, though I might end up buying it anyway). Finally I found a little tiny windchime that has a bead and resin dragonfly at the top and the most annoying tingly shrill set of fairy chimes. It really felt like exactly the right thing to buy. When it stops chiming, it feels like the world is a much emptier place (though that could just be me losing a few extra tones at the top end of my hearing, or losing more hearing full stop). I think it reminds me of one of my favourite bits of music, Saint-Saen's Aquarium.

OK, I'll stop waffling. Didn't knit a stitch today. Did roughly card up some fleece that turns out to have MANY second cuts in it, even though i thought I removed them. So this spinning is going to be textured. That is my story and I'm sticking to it!


Wednesday, January 10, 2007


G'day all!

Today was a big day for me. I went and got me a gym program! Yessirree as of Monday I will have a program in the gym! I will build my poor shoulders up and get my body back (no, I don't know who stole it or where it has been all these years I've not been going to the gym).

I am totally whacked out now. Or maybe I am whacked out cos I ate something that may be dodgy for me. Anyway, my head is spinning and my gut is sad and I just want to sit down and not do much.

We've had some rather warm weather again but a cool, dry, change blew through this morning and it is currently a very pleasant 24 degrees C. I like 24 C. It is one of my favourite temperatures.

Oddly I have not been doing much knitting recently. I think I am so spoilt for choice that I don't know what to do. I've started a mate to one of the lonely socks but didn't get far into it before going to the gym. I knitted a cosy for the camera from some of my earlyish handspun. Hot pink and bright orange stripes in a yarn that could be described as rustic only it is missing the hay and other vegetable matter. I've been spinning some fleece that I see as being as rough as b*ggary but I had dyed it a very pretty aqua so I figure I should knit and felt it into something for the cats. I can't wear prickly wool but the cats will most likely love it. I am contemplating just plain felting the washed wool, stuff this spinning bizzo!

One (not very amusing for Blue Moon Fiber Arts) amusing thing is that my sock club membership has been refunded. Why? Cos the Blue Moon's bank thought they were scamming people and returned all the money! LOL Noone would ever pay for a sock club membership would they? Blue Moon have changed banks and have to do it all over again (as do I). I rather feel for them.

We've had some noisy friends visiting next door's pear trees. These are rainbow lorikeets, whose range has extended massively in the last 10 or so years. We used to have to go to Queensland to see them but they've been regulars in Melbourne (1000 miles away from Queensland) since no later than 2000. They are technically nectar feeders, but you can see what they are up to here. Naughty devils, but there are plenty of pears left even after the possums have had a go at them too.

We almost got a sunset here last night. Yes, the sun did set but to get a pretty sunset you need clouds.

It rounded off what was a very interesting day for both Nathan and me. We'll see what comes of it later.


Tuesday, January 09, 2007

But wait, there's more!

G'day all!

I got another parcel in the mail yesterday. I love parcels (btw, we would *REALLY* like to know who sent the cook book - noone has fessed up to it so far).

Before Christmas, I was cruising Etsy and found Spindlemaker, an Aussie woodturner who makes spindles. Hooray! I've been lusting after various creations made in the USA but a spindle costing USD40 plus USD20 in postage makes a spindle costing over 80 Aussie dollars and that is just not worthwhile. It would have to be one seriously hot spindle, a Moosie or something.

So looky what I got at less than half of that - a beautiful Tassie myrtle beech whorl with Tassie huon pine shaft (BTW, no huon pines are logged these days - I am told the wood is reclaimed from the forest floor in small amounts, small amounts mainly cos the areas where it grows are extremely rugged. Tasmanian myrtle beech is not a beech at all, but is logged. Selected logs show the lovely red colouring and are used for fine furniture and wood turning. Please don't get me started on the way the trees are logged cos we will be here for several days....)

*and* another whorl, this one in myrtle burl. Isn't the burl pretty? I love burl. So interesting.

The single whorl spins well but if I stick the other whorl up underneath it and start plying, it just spins and spins and spins! Much better than my toy wheel spindles (the best of which I gave away) or my CD spindle.

In other news, I've been playing in the dyepot again (I've gone such pretty colours!). These ones are old - I was digging through my yarn box making sure I had pics of the whole lot of yarn that will go up on the yarn website and these two sock yarns came to my attention. I am not putting them on the yarn site at this stage because they are almost impossible to get a good picture of.

This first one is a merino tencel blend. See the sheen on it? I describe the colours as wine-like, for want of better descriptor. It has mauve, brown, purple, plum and reddish tones running through it.

The closeup is probably more representative of the true colours. It tends to change in different lights.

It cost a bomb to get here, and my costs are passed on to you, so I have to ask $30 for it.
NOW SOLD!! Sorry, I only have one more hank of merino tencel and it is all MINE!

Then there is the self patterning sparkling sea sock yarn - it is sea greens and turquoises with very little blue despite the picture (which has been Gimped to hell and back to get it sorta vaguely right looking).

This one is $18 for the two balls of yarn, about 360m, 80% wool, 20% nylon, wears like iron, feels like softest merino (excellent for baby clothes but can only be machine washed in cold water).

Time for a walk. It is horridly smokey here again - the fires in the mountains are still not out because it hasn't rained often enough to put them out - but we need our evening walk to discuss what happened today. On my part, not much - I went for a walk with intent of undertaking a Grand Public Transport Tour of the South-Eastern Suburbs (ie I walked to Springvale to catch a bus but found out the busses only run once an hour to where I wanted to go and you can guess when the next one ran.... Why catch a bus? Cos then I am chauffeur driven! I can knit, read, look out the window, ignore the traffic (and hopefully the smelly that just got on), etc, etc). Maybe another day.


Saturday, January 06, 2007

Not another!

G'day all!

It has been steenky hot here recently and when it is steenky hot, the study gets very very warm and sitting in front of a hot LCD screen is no fun at all. A cool change is pushing through, alas no rain for us even though it was forecast, and it is a little better today. (This is to say the sweat on my upper lip is only just starting to bead after half an hour rather than dripping off.....)

Does anyone else find that their dishwasher packs up and refuses to do dishes for days when it is hot? She has the best intentions of doing dishes at least once a day but when it is over 35 degrees in the house (and we are talking celsius here), the allure of a clean and tidy kitchen drops, especially if it involves half an hour of wearing rubber gloves and sticking hands into very hot water. (The opposite applies in winter - the allure of hot hands is quite compelling!)

Guess what I made?

(By Lynne, age *mumble*. I designeded it all by myself! LOL)

Yep *another* sock! I found a pattern I really like in a Barbara Walker book I borrowed from the library. Then I worked out how to turn it into a sock. I have to knit another one in this sportweight yarn, then try to adapt it for a sockweight yarn too.

Would anyone like the pattern when it is ready?

Poor Nutkin doesn't like the heat. Every time it gets hot, she starts dumping yet another round of fur - I can't believe how much fur she has moulted. If we kept it, there would be enough to spin a goodly length of yarn (but the staple is too short since she is a shorthair). In this photo she is saying why do you keep calling me? I'm exhausted and will only favour you with a look....

One of my rose bushes was not very happy some time ago. It got put in the greenhouse to recover.

I think it has recovered so well that we will have to wait until winter to get it out of the ground.