Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween and radio silence

G'day all!

Hope that that love it are having fun on Halloween.

Me? Very quiet. A night of wrangling websites - we actually wrangled the US govt websites into submission. We have a visa appt for the end of the week. Alas the Qantas site has wrangled me into submission - obviously the gremlins have gotten into it and I have HAD ENOUGH! Six times I've submitted my change request and six times it has rejected it. Egads I am peeved! I've had to call Qantas three times - once they said it will work, once the mobile played up, now hopefully I have someone competent.


Also, my laptop is dying and I have to use Nathan's laptop to do stuff, only it doesn't have me set up properly, none of my bookmarks/files/etc are on it and O.M.G. I am so over the trackpad! I keep brushing it and it keeps moving to a different part of the screen or a different screen completely. That is sooo annoying! Or I leave the pointer on a link and off we go! yay! Sometimes I'm not sure I know where we are going but we go someplace I didn't expect. Wheee!


Hooray, competent Sonya has booked us onto another flight (via Sydney but we go on an A380! possibly), I've coughed up some dough and we now go back on the 17th of November. Assuming the visas arrive. 8-D

I have lovely new socks to show off but my laptop keeps eating pictures every time I start editing them - it is overheating for an unknown reason. We took it apart yesterday and cleaned out some fluff and apart from that nothing was obviously wrong. I think something has flexed in it and now some vital contact peels away when it gets hot and piiiiiuuuuuw! it powers down. So the lovely new socks will have to wait for their bloggy day in the sun.

Apart from the website wrangling and dying laptop, we have had a lovely day at my brother's place, the nearby beach and a fantastic plant nursery (Phil Vaughan's native plants - he has *such* wonderful Aussie natives, mostly stuff from WA). His garden is tres tres tres bon indeed and he is selling it! Oh if only we could win Tatts (the lottery) and buy it!

Must go to bed instead of rambling. If you haven't heard from me recently, it is because of my sick laptop. I don't have any bookmarks on Nathan's laptop and I have to remember what your blog is called, which seems to be hard for me - I have to google them! None of this click on a link thing, no. I guess I am just lazy!


Wednesday, October 28, 2009

A lovely loooooong weekend

G'day all!

Had a lovely weekend in Adelaide (some might ask how this is possible but it is very possible indeed!). We did lots of family stuff - Nathan has lots of rellos there. I have none! We muck;, followed by a couple of days of tooling around Adelaide and a train trip home.

I finished the black shrug in time for Grandma J's birthday party.

I finished a sock. I would've finished two socks except I had to do an extravagant cuff and cast off.

Do I have pics of them?

:-D Hello, this is me! That is to say, no. Not yet. I was too busy with Other Stuff. And most of the pics from the weekend are on Nathan's laptop and it was being disagreeable and telling me "You can't do that" quite a bit. But I have a couple of pics to share, just cos they are pretty (even if they do belong on my travel blog).

Sunset on Saturday night. A cold front had blown through and the sun peeked through just before it went to bed.

Morialta Creek. How Australian is that view! (Except the creek has water in it, albeit heavily algaed water).

More soon, when I've got pics. I might even have the second sock finished by the end of the day (especially given I've got the gut gripes and won't be doing much. Plus my skin is going ballistic - it's dried out and I've feeding it So. Much. Moisturiser. My face skin is so dry it felt like a mask two days ago and now is starting to flake. Not sure if the skin and the gut are both suffering the same problem but they are both forms of skin).


Friday, October 23, 2009

Away away

G'day all!

Just a quickie - we are off to Adelaide for a few days. May not have internet (but surely there will be a cafe or two?).

I'll update youse all when I get back, if not sooner :-)


Thursday, October 22, 2009

Shrugwatch fail, graduation win!

G'day all!

What a lovely night we had last night. The shrug is not yet done. Whatever. Life got in the way of finishing it.

Nathan got to wear the silly bonnet (the style of which dates back to Tudor times) and his great grandfather's Cambridge gown.

Some of us celebrated with champagne or wine (proud parents. John read out the names of the graduates, and bear hugged Nathan after reading out his name and the description of his PhD. Even the crabby old staff bearer cracked a grin.)

but Nathan celebrated with a beer.

There are four generations of Dr H now, though only three are living.


I was rather pleased :-) (And yes, I can wear the silly bonnet too cos I also have a PhD.)

We have ordered the DVD of the ceremony. All that work for this moment. Golly.

At the end of the ceremony, the graduates were asked to stand and thank their families. The Bachelor Degree and Masters graduates all stood and turned and applauded (and more than half of them were international students (given their names that were not Anglicised in any way) and I am not sure their families were even there). The PhD graduates did not stand until Nathan stood up "C'mon guys!" As he said afterwards, he has to acknowledge his family's role in him finishing his PhD - without us, he would not have gotten there.

As someone said last night, you've all done very well.


Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Shrugwatch 2009

G'day all!

Welcome to Shrugwatch 2009. Can I knit a whole shrug in just over 24 hours?

I started at about 6pm yesterday. I knitted as much as I could, though I also had to cook dinner and clean the dining table (you would not believe how messy it gets when cakes like THIS and THIS are on offer!).

I knitted in bed, just a bit. Don't like knitting in bed - bed is for lying in not sitting up and knitting is annoying when you lay down.

I got up and knitted.

At 9am, here is what I have so far:

Roughly 32cm long. 180 stitches cast on, two rows knitted (started with a purl to see what happened), on the 3rd row I p1, p3tog all the way across except for the last three stitches where I p2tog, p1. I knitted another two rows, then p1, p3tog all the way to the last stitch, p1. 42 stitches or so. Then I did one row of garter and started a simple lace pattern (?horseshoe arch?). I've increased every 6-8 rows once I had most of the lace pattern done.

Whoops, taking much to long to blog this - keep getting distracted by my knitting!

Stay tuned for more thrilling updates of a black thing being knitted.

ETA - 10am. First ball of yarn consumed. Shrug just over 40cm long. I may not need all five balls that I bought yesterday.

ETA 2:30 pm. Survived numerous interruptions - dusting and vacuuming for the arrival of Granny and Grandpa, the arrival of Granny and Grandpa, the leaving of Granny and Grandpa. Also had to frog the lace back on the second sleeve as I used the wrong double decrease. Have maybe half an hour's knitting left in the second ball - think I'll only need three balls all up out of the five! This means I can make matching fingerless mitts and a beret out of the remaining two balls. But that is later. Now I have to get this finished, do washing and also get some new undies cos really? 5 pairs is not enough! Graduation in 5.5 hours and counting.



G'day all!

I've got a bad case of startitis. This week I've cast on a new pair of socks, a scarf and a shawlette. Then I realised that I don't have a nice top to wear tomorrow night to Nathan's graduation.

I've spent a day over the last couple of days galloping around looking for clothes for the graduation and also for my grandma's-on-law 90th birthday party. I've found a nice skirt and a pair of shoes and a top but the top is short sleeved and Melbourne hasn't discovered Summer yet, thank heavens, cos it is still Spring.

So I bought Even More Yarn and cast on a shruggy sort of bolero-ey thing tonight.

No pics cos it is in black bamboo and cotton, and it is night time.

Wish me luck! I have less than 24 hours to knit a whole shrug.


Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Hooston, we have another problem

G'day all!

Today I went and did more weeding. I'm still picking rose thorns out of my arms and scalp! Ouch! Anyway, the magic cat came and said hello without running from me

(That's Cheshire, the tranny cat.)
and Nutmeg seems to remember me (!!!) cos she does the things she used to do with me, like hopping on her back legs and headbutting my hand. She was out yesterday but today she was locked in, so she made appearances on the loungeroom couch and mewled at me.

And here's a shot of a tree scaevola and a rose (Scentimental) from our slightly less weedy garden

On the way home (I drove Rufus - first time I've driven a manual in years and gosh it was fun once I worked out that the clutch goes ALL the way out before taking!), I had to go back to pick up the stuff that I had taken the car for - my drum carder. It is a cm too high for my wheely bag. So I went back and grabbed that, and then drove off again, only to find Nathan walking along the street, so I had to turn around again.... Third time's a charm!

We stopped at Scroaties (Spotlight, Oz's answer to Joann's) in Sandown Park on the way home. Nathan found some lycra to make bike shorts out of and I found:

a bag of Magicline!

Look at the price!!!! A dollar a ball for magicline? Holy guacamole, come to mama! I've been eyeballing this yarn for umm 5 or 6 years and at $6-7 a ball, I've passed it over. But now?

Well of course it came home with me... They had a really nice crocheted top kit too but it was in all the colours I don't like, well I don't like on me - I'm not an orange and yellow sorta person. If it had been in the sunsetty colours, I would've considered it but it was all orange and yellow.

I would like to say that the closeup shot of the pack I bought is artfully blurry but it really is just blurry.

Now if you want a bag of Magicline, I suggest that Australians check out their local Scroaties and peoples overseas drop me an email specifying colour. I have paypal. Note that postage will probably more than double the price in AUD (I'm guessing postage will be in the order of AUD12-15) but that is still pretty darned cheap!


Monday, October 19, 2009

Stash enhancement

G'day all!

I've been doing a little stash enhancement recently.

Mmm, Wondoflex.... They carry Touch Yarns (NZ, luscious stuff!). I closely eyeballed the possum wool but decided I would be "good" and only buy some of the 4 ply wool in a lovely greeny pastelly lotsa colours, like I am wont to pick up.


Mmmm, this is soft as soft can be. Lovely merino softly spun. Colour 208. I've already wound this into a ball and cast on a faroese shawlette (btw if anyone can tell me how to say faroese, I'd be grateful. Apparently the a is said like a German long o, which doesn't help ME much at all, what with my mad German skilz). So far I've gotten past the shoulder shaping and am putting some pattern into the body of it. I have Ideas that I will have it finished in time for Nathan's Grandma's party at the end of the week.

Then there is some Grignasco "Ice Cream," though the labels look rather like these were samples rather than production yarn. It reminded me of the Country Spun that I made my first pullover from - similar colours and a thick and thin yarn.


Last from Wondo's is some Paton's Wool Tweed DK in a grey base with green and blue running through it (the tweed). The way the colour runs through the grey is weird - it is not the normal ply, it is wound through the other plies.

I bought three balls of it and today cast on a simple scarf using the seafoam stitch pattern. Details on Ravelry but no pics cos someone is a duffer. It reminds me of Port Phillip (the bay that Melbourne sits on) in a storm, when the water is grey and green and has glints of colour.

It turns out that Morris & Sons (formerly Tapestrycraft) is having their biannual sale, so I popped in there after going to the SnB at Observatory cafe by the Bot Gardens in Melbourne yesterday.

So I brought a new ball of laceweight in white

to match the dark teal blue I bought a couple of Fridays ago.

And some 4ply in Irises

and a WHOLE bag of Totem (a *wonderful* crepe yarn) in a pretty pale eggshell blue.

Look how fine the laceweight is - 700m in a 50g ball!

So of the new stash, I am using two lots already, along with some stash I bought at Bobbin's Nest before we came here (*blush*). I am dying to start knitting a lace shawl with either of the white or the dark teal, probably the dark teal cos it won't show grot at all. But really? I have a pair of socks, a pullover, faroese shawl and scarf on the go, along with some spindle spinning. There's only so much I can knit at the one time!


Friday, October 16, 2009

FO - PSC October - Inside Out

G'day all!

I have at last finished the PSC socks for the month. They seem to have taken forever, possibly because I did them two at a time and they are a really dense knit. The ribbing was pretty intense and the cables! Argh, oh the pain of it all!


But they are done and they get on my feet (just - the cables really pull the ribbing in), so I have a nice warm pair of socks to wear just as the weather is warming up for a few days. LOL (I was brave today and put my washing out on the line - oh the joy of drying clothes outside on a line! Bliss!)


Details on Ravelry. Inside Out by Kaci of Blue Moon Fiber Arts in one of my fave yarns, Socks that Rock, mediumweight.


They are designed to be worn either way - which is in the inside or the outside (ok, I can't follow directions and made a stocking stitch toe).


All in all, a fine pair of socks but not a pattern I am likely to knit again!

I've been up to lots of stuff recently but haven't blogged - I've been a busy bee! Speaking of which, we keep finding bees inside, a worry cos Nathan is allergic to them, and my sister in sin was stung last night as she was making tea! She's ok though.


Monday, October 12, 2009

I shall continue to buy Pt tickets

G'day all!

This admonishment/curse greeted me on the tram the other day:

I shall continue to buy tickets for the bus/tram/train. I do not want moths devouring my woollens - moths in my stash would be disastrous! I'm a goody goody suck suck that way anyway - the idea of being hooked off the train for not buying a ticket and then getting a $200 or so fine for not buying a ticket is horrifying to me. Of course I have the wrong attitude - I should be pushing my luck and avoiding paying fares. Instead I believe that my fare helps a little and is The Right Thing To Do. Just like I think taxes are inevitable and should be paid so that everyone gets access to things like healthcare and the dole when they need them. But I'm Australian. What would I know?

I have completed the heel turn on the socks 2.25 times. Yep, didn't like one of them so I ripped it out and it is working nicely this time. I really should follow the directions and not make it up out of my head. Soon I will be working the cable pattern. Then when I run out of yarn, almost, I cast the things off and voila! A new pair of socks. I have more yarn but it is Too Nice for socks (mmmmmmalabrigo!) so I shall either have to buy some or stash dive.

Oh, I saw the Serenity yarn I bought at Joann's in a LYS today. It is still pretty cheap - $5 something a ball. Not bad for sock yarn that seems pretty nice! And when I think about it, I bought two mismatched balls of Crystal Palace Panda Cotton (??) to make a new pair of summer socks out of, so I guess I'll start on them next! Heels and toes and ribbing in the opposite colour (more ends than I like dealing with but DEAL!) Plus I have to figure out which pattern to make out of the lovely laceweight I bought at Morris and Sons the other day. 50g and something like 700m of luscious fine merino in dark teal. (I've already raved about that...)


Sunday, October 11, 2009

A very late wotisit



What is that thing?

Waah! with added pictures

G'day all!

The forecast is no better today but this is Melbourne, it is spring and heck we need all the rain we can get. It hasn't really rained since we got here... and the forecast is just nasty not rainy.

So here are the Inside Out socks
(ooh, they are biassing! Look at them twisting. I guess that is the result of the overspun yarn.)

and the Beaumont tam, as they were last night.
I am very pleased with the way the two handspuns are coming up on the tam, particularly given one is a sportweight/5 ply and the other no more than fingering/3-4ply and often drops to laceweight.

I've been into town twice now ($3.10 Sunday Saver tickets - what a bargain! $3.10 to go anywhere on the Melbourne train, tram and bus system). I went to the Arts centre market yesterday and then popped in to the SnB in South Yarra (normally held at the Wool Baa) and caught up with some peoples.

And yesterday I discovered the sepia/my colours function on our camera. Yes the camera is now almost a year old, has taken over 30,000 pics and is on the way to being busted, and I've only just found this function. So here's a pretty bad pic of the Yarra in sepia from the train bridge at Heyington. (The blurry thing in the middle is a pole.)


Compare it with the pic I took on Friday from just a little further along the same bridge:

I love the way the sepia pic automatically looks old fashioned. I took some others, not yet gimped, and even with modern cars and signage, they still look ye-olde-times.

Today we will go in to Monash Uni on the bus. LB has gone in by car, FiL has gone in on his bike and we will use the bus. That means we are using three of the four ways to get to Monash (the fourth of course being Shank's Pony). I have lots of knitting to do. I have 2cm to go on the socks before I do the heel. I have half the tam to do and gosh I hope I have enough of the contrast yarn to finish it! The tam feels lovely - so soft and squishy! Mmmm, roll around on the tam on the nicely vacuumed carpet (poor vacuum cleaner had the world's biggest hairball blocking its tube but now? It sucks like a Dyson should!).



G'day all!

I didn't wear a jacket for part of today. Didn't last long but four hours of being decently warm was fantastic!

Alas, pretty much all of this next week will be freezing. 15C! Dangit, it isn't even going to bucket rain on us, just a few "isolated showers" which in my past experience (that is what experience is, eh? Past!) means one pathetic dribble from the sky and a bit of posing as rain clouds from useless fluffy things, all talk no action/rain.

Just as I've almost gotten to the short row heels on my Inside Out socks (hooray! Another pair of socks coming my way - I'll need them!) and I've picked up the Beaumont (Jared Flood) tam I started making in France or someplace like that. Yes, I dragged my brand new copy of "made in Brooklyn" all around Europe. And across to Oz. It is my fave knitting book at present. It is showing signs of wear too, unlike most of my books which tend to stay in pristine condition if I can help it. Anyway, a new tam will be very welcome too.

I need to raid my old stash to knit more gear for me! I brought two berets and a pair of hand warmers, Nathan is whining that he is cold (possibly because I washed his stuff but he forgot to hang it out and he had no jackets or jumpers to wear). I have no pics at present cos I have to find the camera to download them and edit them and it is nearly 11pm and time for bed.

Given I've knitted about 8cm on the inside out socks today, bringing them to 16cm or so long in the foot, and I need ?28cm long socks, how long do you think it will take for me to finish the things? I'm hoping I can have them done by say Wednesday, so that I have three pairs of nice woolly socks to wear. Hopefully I'll be able to raid my stash this week and see if there is anything nice to knit up quick and woolly wise in it. I know I have a lovely lurid set of Colinette Point 5 in it.

Time for bed! The wall computer here just announced "It is 23 hours."


Friday, October 09, 2009


G'day all!

My goodness, it is fab to be back Home!

I just had a lovely day wandering around the Melbourne CBD (and a little beyond). My city. A city where I know the rules, I understand them instinctively. I was brought up here. I said hello to the Yarra (River) and then headed through town to Cleg's, Lincraft, Morris and Sons... I went to my guild (typed that guilt ... ahem!) and headed straight to the fleece room. Umm the fleece room was a little infested (!!!!! I nearly had a heart attack on the spot - I've never seen moths before, not these sort of moths, and in the Holy Blessed Wool Room! At least now I know what to look for), so I spent an hour tying bags of fleece up and now they have to be either treated or watched closely. But I still bought a bee-yoo-tee-ful Andyle fleece that showed no signs of infestation and will stick it in the sun tomorrow and thence in a freezer and back into the sun. I went to a craft fair (not worth $15 to be allowed to see 100 vendors IMO). I stopped at one of my favourite supermarkets (they have just finished an upgrade and it is ALL DIFFERENT! But I'm not the only confused person) and got my favourite OVEN FRIES! Pomme frites! (Oh chippies how I have missed you - I have to cut up potatoes and bake them and that is rather hit and miss cos I forget to get them out of the oven or forget to turn it off etc etc and they are baked not fried.) I caught three different trains, two trams all on the one ticket and for less than $10 (I thought I'd be up for at least $12-15 - no wonder Melbourne's trains are so crowded! It is much cheaper to take the train than drive and find a car park). Now, everyone else is off having coffee and cake but I reckon you can guess how much I would enjoy that! (About as much as I enjoyed watching them all eat tea at a local eatery first... but catching up with family friends is good.)

Anyway, the cat was delighted to see me. Weow! Wowww. Woeeew! Purr purr purr, smoodge, begging at his food bowl one paw raised (that is so cute! He was trained pretty quickly in that - you know the cat kneading paw with toes extended? He does that to beg with his paw raised).

I've been home for half an hour and I have not fed him. It is not my job to feed him. The assigned person is not here to feed him and he doesn't get fed yet anyway.

He is now sitting with his back pointedly towards me (and his front at the front door, hoping the hand that feeds arrives soon). The purring has stopped.

On a different topic, for locals, isn't Morris and Sons nice? I bought a solitary ball of their laceweight merino in a dark teal. 700m in 50g. That is a shawl in one $11 ball of yarn! I saw them at the craft fair as well.

I admit to being shocked by the price of quilting material. In the US, it is $7-11 a yard. Here if you find stuff that is under $20 a metre you are doing well! Same in Europe (only in Euros). That extra 7 or so centimetres of fabric seem to make a helluva difference in price! I am now coveting my US stash (and will go through the material I have stored here - one A3 sized storage box. I already knew books are much cheaper in the US too but the difference in material prices was oh-my-sainted-aunt time. Nearly had the vapours! When we leave the US, if I am still quilting, I will not be getting rid of my quilting stash! I'd get rid of most of the yarn stash first.... and that is saying something! But yarn seems to be fairly constant in price everywhere I've been (not sock yarn but general knitting yarn for garments) whilst fabric is ai-ai-ai!

Enough randomness. Hopefully my pie and chippies are nearly heated. I have not had a pie in over two years (meat pie, Aussie pie, yummy pie for special treats). I hope it is good!


Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Home sweet home

G'day all!

I am rather delayed in saying We Are Home!

We are staying at Nathan's parents' place. It is very nice to be back in Oz, with familiar stuff. We went and saw our house this morning. The garden is impressively green (alas with plenty of weeds as well). Nutmeg came and talked to us immediately, though I am not totally sure she recognised us but I did get some headbutts on my hand. Cheshire ran away, scaredy cat! *He* later on came and looked at me a LOT and then said "Oh, I think I know you. You may pat me now."

I have to be careful not to get run over. We drive on the left, not the right and I've obviously adjusted rather well to the American way. Still if I drive here (which I will) I am sure I will readjust.

I am delighted by Australian money. When I look in my wallet, I know exactly how much I have in there - the money is colour coded, like in pretty much any country in the world. Except the one I've been living in, where you can think you have HEAPs of money and then you realise you have seventeen $1 bills. But I do admit the 20c pieces now look enormous. Ahem.

Have I done ANY knitting recently?


Only about 80 stitches on Nathan's pullover. That is IT!

No wonder I am feeling discombobulated. No knitting, jetlagged....

Oh, I'm going PINK for October! Yes, October is breast cancer awareness month, and given that my aunt died of breast cancer, my MiL is an 8 year survivor and one of my good mates in SJ is having breast cancer treatment... well I just have to be in! I love pink - I'm wearing it right now! I'm off to change my blog colours, so any pics I have will just have to wait :-)


Friday, October 02, 2009

PSC October

G'day all!

In all the frenetic quilting I am doing at the moment, I thought I should pull a Personal Sock Club parcel. I haven't done a PSC since July and the big bag

is sitting waiting patiently, with only four PSC packages to go!

Well now it is three to go and

has to be cast on. I have to make sure I take bamboo needles for the flight cos they get really snippy in Oz about knitting on the plane. Bamboo should be less of a problem, though I will not risk it when I go through security in Oz! My needles! My knitting! I'll pack some extra needles in the checked luggage. I should also find some stuff for hand knitting or finger knitting - I remember getting a lovely parcel of some Colinette Point5 whilst we were in Oz. It is still awaiting me so maybe it will be perfect! It is quite chunky and would be good for knitting on my fingers. Hmm, must check things out. We have long flights - they didn't say until the tickets were paid for that we have a stopover in Auckland (NZ) on the way through, just like we used to before the extended range 747s. At least we don't have to stop in Hawaii as well. The idea of 18 hours of flying/airports with no knitting is quite horrifying - all that wasted time! All that twitching wishing my hands were busy. I could knit 3/4 of a shawl (again) in that time.

So tomorrow night we fly out of SJ, to LAX thence AUK and finally MEL. Hooray! I am starting to get a little excited about it now. I've been too jetlagged and either coldy or awful hayfever to get excited. It will be good* to catch up with family and friends and see how my city has changed in the last two years.

(*note the Australian understatement)